The newly appointed head coach of Pakistan hockey team Olympian Tauqir Dar has urged the authorities concerned to release funds as soon as possible so that the players and the team management could focus on preparation for the World Cup.
While talking to ‘The News’ from Lahore where the national team’s training camp is continuing, Dar emphasised resolving the financial issue. “How can players play well when they don’t have good diet and we can’t even pay the rent of the rooms of the players in the host country!” he added.
He said that Pakistan did not have much time to finalise their preparation for the World Cup as only 20 days were left before the event. “Our players have skill, motivation and devotion, but how can they survive without their salaries and other financial benefits at international level,” said Tauqir, who was a member of Pakistan’s gold medal-winning team at Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. He runs Dar Academy in Lahore which has produced a number of players who represented Pakistan.
Four to six players of the academy are always part of Pakistan team under different team managements. “They played well in Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) and reached the final. They had also played well in the Asian Games but failed to reach the final because of one poor performance — in the semi-final. We will need to tune them in right direction and minimise their shortcomings during the training camp,” Tauqir said.
He was appointed head coach in place of Holland’s Roelant Oltmans, who resigned last month just before the ATC. Dar said Oltmans had done a good job with the Pakistan team due to which Pakistan played well in the ATC. “We will continue his strategy but with some modifications. We need to adopt an attacking game plan. Our team management is working to improve the goal-scoring ratio — field goals as well as penalty corners.
“The forwards successfully defused the defenders of rival teams, penetrated in their areas but did not score goals regularly.“A number of our players are experienced. They play professional league in European and other countries. They don’ need to learn the art of hockey, but they need to be given confidence. We need to make them stronger to make the most of penalty corners,” said Tauqir.
“Imran Butt is an experienced goalkeeper. We have Rizwan Junior, Irfan Senior and a couple of other experienced players. Besides, we have some emerging talented players. So we can say we have a bunch of players who could challenge any team on their day. We are trying to make them mentally strong to withstand pressure situations,” he said.
“Our pool is a tough one as Malaysia, Germany and Holland are all dangerous sides. We can’t take any of them easy. There will be no room for any mistake,” he added.
Tauqir stressed that the federal government resolve the financial problems, so that players could do their jobs without having to worry about money. “When daily allowances are not given to the players who are going to play World Cup, how can they be calm and composed!” he said.
Syed Intikhab -The News