Pakistan senior hockey team departs early Tuesday (today) morning for Gold Cost, Australia, to participate in the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held from April 4-15.
The Green-shirts manager Hasan Sardar, before leaving the country, said that they were experimenting by forming various combinations to make a formidable side before the Asian Games.
He said he expected the team’s performance would be much better in comparison with the recent international assignments. The Commonwealth Games are tough as strong hockey sides will be there. “Our concentration will be on playing fast and aggressive hockey,” Sardar said.
“The teams in our pool are either equal to us or better than us. India and England are ranked higher. But it does not mean that we will come under pressure. We have our plan and under Roelant Oltmans’ coaching and planning, our boys are improving and learning fast.
“How much the boys have learned will be seen when the competition starts,” he said. “We are clear that we are going in the right direction — according to the needs of modern-day hockey.
One of our players, Faisal Qadir, has an issue of visa but the PSB authorities have assured us that they are trying to get him visa before the team leaves. Even if it is not arranged immediately, Faisal will join us later in Australia,” Sardar said.
He further said that PHF had hired the services of a physiotherapist from Malaysia who will join the team in Australia. Sardar said the match against archrivals India would be important and the boys would take the field with fighting spirit. “We take every match seriously. We need to win matches so that the spirit of players could be raised,” he added.
Pakistan will play three practice matches before the Commonwealth Games, one against Scotland and two against local teams. Pakistan are in Pool B, along with Wales, India, England and Malaysia.
Pakistan: Rizwan Senior (captain), Ammad Shakeel Butt (vice captain), Imran Butt, Mazhar Abbas, Irfan Senior, Tazeemul Hassan, Mubashar Ali, Faisal Qadir, Tauseeq Arshad, Tasawwar Abbas, Abubakr Mahmood, Irfan Junior, Shafqat Rasool, Dilber, Ateeq Arshad, Ali Shan, Arslan Qadir, Rana Sohail.
Syed Intikhan (The News)