KUALA LUMPUR: With Pakistan having financial and visa issues, Malaysia might find themselves playing South Korea in the World Cup in Bhubanesar, India, instead of the Green Shirts.
Malaysia, Pakistan, Germany and the Netherlands make up Group D in the World Cup from Nov 28-Dec 16. If Pakistan can’t travel to India, the first reserves are South Korea.
"Yes, I have heard about Pakistan's problems sourcing for money to play in the World Cup, and I hope they sort it out soon.
"I know all the players personally as I used to coach them before, and it would be very disheartening if they can't play in the World Cup," said Malaysia coach Roelant Oltmans.
However, strategy-wise, the Dutchman is still preparing Malaysia to take on Pakistan in the World Cup.
"Our focus is on planning against Germany, the Netherlands and Pakistan right now, until we receive concrete news about any other developments," said Oltmans.
Malaysia need to win at least one match in Group D, because the team that finish fourth will not be involved in a play-off for higher positions but will pack their bags and head for home.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) request for a loan from their Cricket Board has been rejected.
According to a report in the economictimes.indiatimes.com, Pakistan's new head coach Tauqir Dar and manager Hasan Sardar confirmed they had spoken to PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and requested him to provide a loan to cover the expenses for the World Cup.
"He was scheduled to meet us on Thursday but due to some urgent issues, he spoke to us on phone. He made it clear that the PCB couldn't advance any loan to the PHF since the federation had not returned a loan given to them by the board during the tenure of Lt General (rtd) Tauqir Zia in early 2000," said Dar.
Their government has also not responded to requests for eight million rupees from PHF. Pakistan had to withdraw from the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India, because they were not granted visas, and first reserves Malaysia made the trip instead.