KARACHI: Pakistan senior team is going to start its training camp from March 1 aiming to do well at the Commonwealth Games, where it will have to compete against the giants of the hockey world.
Pakistan last week lost against Japan in the final a three-nation tournament in Oman. They were held to a 4-4 draw by minnows Oman, which was a humiliating result considering they had gone up 3-0.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has appointed a South African coach to train goalkeepers and Holland’s Roelant Oltmans as the senior team’s head coach. The Commonwealth Games in Australia are to be held in April. Pakistan has been placed in Pool B with India, England, Malaysia, and Wales.
"Pakistan will begin their campaign by facing archrivals India on April 7".
Pakistan manager Olympian Hasan Sardar said he was dejected by the performance of the players in Oman, “but we haven’t lost hope. The year 2018 is very important for Pakistan hockey. There is a big gap between Pakistan and other teams. “The goalkeepers and defenders made silly mistakes. Penalty corners were not handled well. Besides, the fitness of our players was not up to the level required in international hockey,” he added.
He said that the weaknesses noted in Oman would be removed. “Our main target is to make the team ready for Asian Games which are to be held in September and October in Indonesia. The best thing is that before the Asian Games, we will participate in Commonwealth Games, in April, and Champions Trophy in Holland, in June. The experience of tough matches of these events will help our players learn a lot and we can hope that they will play better in Asian Games,” said the manager. Sardar further said that a foreign physical trainer was needed for the team.
He said he was against the idea of inducting the national junior team’s players into the senior squad. “It will be premature. We must let them (the juniors) mature. They are the future of Pakistan hockey. They will get better by playing in some international junior events,” he added.
Sardar added that he would submit the report about the performance of the team in Oman to PHF in a couple of days.