Famous coach Roelant Oltmans of Holland will join Pakistan hockey team’s training camp in a couple of days.
He is expected to come to Pakistan today on March 8. His first assignment with the team will be Commonwealth Games and he is expected to continue till at least the World Cup which is scheduled in December.
The training camp is under way in Karachi at Abdul Sattar Edhi stadium under the supervision of Olympian Hasan Sardar, who is the manager of the team. Sardar confirmed that Oltmans would join the camp in a couple of days. He said that Oltmans was a renowned coach and had produced good results. “Certainly the Green-shirts will benefit from his appointment. Oltmans is famous for having lifted the performance of low-ranked teams. We hope that there will be a visible change in the performance of Pakistan team in coming events, although they will be far tougher than the ones that the boys have recently played,” Sardar said.
The manager said the target of Pakistan was Asian Games which is to be played in Indonesia in August and September. “Participation in Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy before the Asian Games will be our team’s preparation,” he added.
He said the players were training in two sessions with physical fitness exercises. Former national athlete Imran Khan has been appointed to improve the fitness of the players. Former great Shahid Ali Khan has been tasked to improve the goalkeeping department, whose weakness has let the team down many a time recently.
Imran Butt, Mazhar Abbas and Amjad Ali are the three goalkeepers in the camp. Shahid is working with them in two sessions daily.
Shahid said the weaknesses identified in the three-nation tournament in Oman were being addressed. He said that Imran was improving but he would have to work harder to be at his best. “Fortunately we have time and the way he is working, I hope that by the end of the training camp, Imran will have regained his form and fitness necessary for international hockey competitions,” he added.
Imran came back to the national team last month after a big gap of one and a half years. He said that he was also paying attention to Mazhar and Amjad because Pakistan would need back-up goalkeepers.
Syed Intikhab Ali