The youngsters of Pakistan who are attending the training camp in Karachi will face some tough challenges in January and February.
On January 19 and 21, they will play against World XI at home grounds and next month tour Argentina to play five test matches against their senior hockey team. Their training is continuing under strict supervision. The selection committee, led by Islahuddin, is monitoring their training at Abdul Sattar Edhi stadium.
The World XI will consist of world renowned players of Argentina, Spain, New Zealand, and Australia. Coach Kamran Ashraf said that the young team would play according to their full strength. “The youngsters recently played the national championship and are in form and are fit. We are training them to play with open heart and without coming under pressure. We have told them that they should forget that the opponents are international stars. They must play their best game,” said Kamran.
Manager Qamar Ibrahim said the youngsters wanted to show their talent to the world. “They are ready to meet the challenge. It is the first time in many years that the Green-shirts will play at their home ground in front of home crowd,” he added.
Islahuddin and fellow selector Ayaz Mehmood said that the youngsters had spark but naturally they would take some time in reaching their peak. They would learn during training camps and international matches against strong teams of the world, they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that PHF has decided to field the youngsters against the World XI. It is also sending the juniors to play against Argentina’s senior team. The selectors said the decision to field youngsters against the World XI and send them to Argentina to play against their senior team was a wise decision keeping in mind the future plans.Islahuddin said the boys should go with big heart and play their natural game without thinking that their rivals are much stronger and more experienced.