Pakistan hockey team’s newly-appointed manager and head coach Olympian Hasan Sardar has said that the Green-shirts’ first training camp will be held from later this month (January) in Karachi.
From 35 to 40 players are expected to be called in the training camp. Talking to ‘The News’ on Sunday, Sardar said that before his appointment as manager-cum-head coach, he was the chairman of the selection committee and so knew the players well.
The performance of the players in the recently concluded national championship would also be considered, he said. “We want to see all of them, young or old,” he added. He said that a hectic season was ahead of the Green-shirts in 2018. “Our prime target is the Asian Games which will be held in August and September. Before that, Pakistan also appear in the Commonwealth Games in April and Champions Trophy in June in Holland. Both will be tough and give us a lot of experience as far as the preparation of the national team is concerned. The experience of these two big events will help us in the Asian Games,” Sardar said.
The Asian Games will also serve as qualifying rounds for 2020 Olympics. “On the basis of the performance in these three big events we will go into the World Cup 2018 which is to be held near the end of the year,” he said.
Sardar, who has been appointed as head coach for the first time, said that he would ensure a change in the performance of the team. He said the PHF was trying to invite Japan or South Korea or China to play a test series in Pakistan before the Commonwealth event so that players get used to play as a team and have experience of a few international matches before appearing in the big event.
He said the services of a special physical trainer would be hired to train the players during the camp. He said that doing so was imperative for excelling in modern-day international. He further said the players of the national team had lost confidence after losing in Australia in the four-nation tournament and earlier in the Asia Cup. “They still have shortcomings because of which they have been losing. The forwards failed to score goals, the defenders and the goalkeepers proved a wall of sand on important occasions. The PC flickers failed to score when needed and passing and stoppage of the ball remained weak,” said Sardar.