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Chairman national hockey selection committee Islahuddin has said the Green-shirts improved their performance in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games but more hard work was needed for the events coming up.
It was after a very long time that the national hockey team remained undefeated in an international event. Islah said that the team did not lose any match but “we should remain alert. Asian Games are most important for us”.
Pakistan need to win the Asian Games to get direct qualification for Olympics 2020. Islah said that he did not see the matches of Commonwealth Games, so he could not comment on the individual performances of the players. He said he received daily reports from Australia, however.
He said that according to the reports the forwards’ missing habit persisted because of which Pakistan failed to win any group match. “But their fighting spirit has got a boost and they formed good combinations. The team management will have to work on the missing of the goal-scoring chances and also improve the fitness level,” said the former Olympian.
He said the Green-shirts would have great chances to learn when playing against the strongest teams of the world at the Champions Trophy in Holland in June. The chairman said that he would meet the team management to discuss plans for the team’s preparations for these events.
Islah said that the performance of the team in Commonwealth Games was satisfactory because they had not lost any match, which boosted the players’ confidence in themselves. Green-shirts training to be in Abbottabad: Meanwhile, Pakistan team’s manager Olympian Hasan Sardar said the Green-shirts improved in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, but there was a lot of work to do to come out as winners and clinch world titles.
“The positive thing is that we did not lose any match in this big event which is a sign of improvement. “The forward line was successful in creating moves but failed to score goals. We will have to do work hard in the next training camp so that the players learn to make the most of goal-scoring chances,” he said.
The team manager said that the basic reason of good performance was that the physical fitness of the players had improved. “We will pay more attention to fitness because it plays an important role in modern-day hockey. “The next training camp of the team will be organised at Abbottabad because by training at so high altitude the fitness of the players will be much better,” he added.
He further said the defenders played well throughout. “Due to their proper tackling, Pakistan did not concede more than two goals in any match. Before Commonwealth Games, we had been conceding three to five goals. Even Canada had defeated us 6-0. This time we defeated them 3-1,” said Sardar.
He said that the performance of goalkeeper Imran Butt was much better in this event and he would further improve in the coming days.
Sardar said that there another good goalkeeper was needed to save Imran from too much workload and injuries as the coming assignments are tough and do not have much gap. The team manager said that he would submit his report to PHF secretariat in a couple of days.

Syed IntiKhab Ali -The News