Pakistan head coach Roelant Oltmans has said that the country’s junior team is a bunch of talented players who have passion to learn. Because of lack of international exposure they would take some time to mature.

PHF has hired the services of Oltmans till 2020. He will not only coach the senior team but also play an advisory role and provide his expertise to strengthen Pakistan hockey structure.

Thus, he will also work with Pakistan junior team when he is not engaged with the seniors.

PHF is working hard to prepare the junior outfit keeping in mind the future requirements of world hockey. It sent the junior boys to participate in the Australian national under-18 championship last year and then organised two matches against a visiting World XI earlier this year.

The juniors won the championship in Australia and drew the series against the World XI. Oltmans has worked with the juniors during the last few days and designed special training plan for them with help from junior team’s head coach Kamran Ashraf and Qamar Ibrahim.

Oltmans observed that the juniors’ training was going in the right direction. He said when they have got some international exposure, their game would improve. Hockey experts in the country have remained divided over the composition of the senior team. While there are some who advocate expelling the seniors, there are many who consider this idea radical.

PHF is grooming the juniors to replace the seniors because it thinks pushing them into the seniors’ arena right now would be dangerous. Pakistan could not appear in the Junior World Cup in 2014 in India, due to which not the supply of young talented players to the senior team was affected.

Meanwhile, Pakistan junior hockey team is training for its matches against the senior team on March 20 and 22 ahead of the latter’s departure to Australia for Commonwealth Games. These two matches will be played in morning session as Oltmans does not want the evening training to be disturbed. He said that junior boys have passion and fighting spirit. They need experience of international hockey matches so that their skills are polished.

Syed Intikhab Ali -The News