The New Zealand Men’s National Hockey Team denied visiting India to play their Indian Leg of the FIH Pro Hockey League Season 2 matches. The Hockey Association of New Zealand has confirmed the news in a press statement, citing the reason for a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country of India.
The home matches for India in the Pro League are in danger as they were to host multiple top hockey-playing nations in the near future. With New Zealand withdrawing to visit India, Australia, Belgium and Netherlands are too considering postponing their Indian Visit.
New Zealand was set to play two matches in their Indian visit. The matches were scheduled for 29th and 30th May 2021 at Bhubaneshwar City, capital of the Orissa State. All the standard protocols were to be followed on the New Zealand visit, however, due to rising cases of Covid-19 in India, New Zealand decided to uphold their visit.
Apart from the denial of home visits, Indian Hockey Players were also barred from traveling abroad to play their away matches. The European Tour of the Men’s team was called off due to the pandemic. The Great Britain Leg of the Indian Men’s Team was postponed as Indian Players were denied UK visas due to surging coronavirus cases.
The Spanish Leg scheduled in Valencia on May 15 and 16 was also postponed as the Indian team couldn’t travel to Spain. The German Leg scheduled at Hamburg on May 22 and 23 was also called off as Indian Players were denied visas from Germany due to covid surge in India.
The coronavirus has put a halt to the matches of the Indian Hockey Team. This comes as a mega setback to India ahead of the Tokyo Olympics to start on July 23. The Men’s National Team is currently practicing at the Sports Authority of India Centre at Bengaluru.