The hockey tournament in Masqat, Oman, scheduled to be held next month will also feature South Korea, a PHF high official informed on Tuesday.
Thus, it will be a four-nation tournament. Japan and hosts Oman are the other two teams in the event which will be held in the third week of February.
Pakistan seniors are to participate in the Commonwealth Games in April and May in Melbourne. The four-nation tournament is the only opportunity for the Green-shirts to prepare for that event.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan senior team’s performance was below par in 2017. It failed to perform well in Asia Cup and a four-nation tournament in Australia.
Hasan Sardar, the manager and head coach of the national team, expressed satisfaction on the inclusion of South Korea in Oman’s four-nation tournament. He said it would make the event more competitive. The Green Shirts are to participate in Asian Games in August and September in Japan.
“We have made up our mind. Asian Games is our main target,” Sardar said. “We are planning for that event because it will be too demanding to expect the team to be successful in such events as Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games,” he added.
He said that Pakistan team was way behind the European teams and Australia. “First we need to conquer the Asian rivals, establish our supremacy at the Asian level. Only then will we go for big titles because the confidence of our players has been shaken,” said Sardar.
“Asian Games will not only give us confidence and restore our prestige at the Asian level but will also give us a safe passage to 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he added.He said that Champions Trophy in Holland in June would be a very tough event. “It will give our boys a lot of experience of playing against the toughest teams of world hockey,” he said.