Pakistan hockey team’s three-week training camp for the Olympic qualifying matches will begin at the National stadium, Lahore, from Monday (tomorrow), manager-cum-head coach Khawaja Junaid.
Among the 35 probables announced for the camp, at least six players — including, Ammad Butt, Abu Bakar, Ali Shan and Waqas — who are participating in different foreign leagues will join the camp after few days.
“More than seventy percent of players in the camp are new faces. We will be able to find if they are good enough to feature at international level after observing them in the camp,” Junaid said.
He said that talent alone is not enough to succeed at international level and to win against world-class teams, physical fitness and mental strength is also needed.“Former Pakistan’s athlete Rana Nasrullah will be responsible for physical training of our players. He has done various physical training courses and will help the boys improve their fitness,” said Junaid.
“We have also hired the services of sports psychologist Dr Jamshed to help the players deal with pressure situations and to improve their mental strength,” he added.
Junaid said that he will receive the names of four or five goalkeepers, recommended for the camp by incharge goalkeepers’ academy Olympian Shahid Ali Khan.
He added that a sound coaching team, including Olympian Waseem Ahmed, Ajmal Khan, Sameer Hussain and Rana Zaheer, will work on all aspects of the players’ game in the training camp.
“Penalty corner department is very important for us and we are trying to bring former captain and penalty corner specialist Muhammad Imran to work on players like Tausiq, Abu Bakar and Aleem Bilal,” he said.
Junaid said that he had also requested the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to arrange some international matches for Green-shirts before the Olympic qualifying round in order to prepare them for the tough matches.
The News: Syed Intikhab Ali