ISLAMABAD: Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh said on Monday it was very important for Pakistan to secure a place among top three in the World Hockey League (WHL) otherwise qualifying in the Asia Cup for the 2014 World Cup would be tough for the national team.

Shahnaz reckoned it would be relatively easier for Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup in the WHL rather than qualifying for the same in the Asia Cup.

“The competition for Pakistan in the Asia Cup would be difficult. It would be better if Pakistan prepare well for the WHL and qualify for the World Cup through triumphing in the league,” he stressed.

Shahnaz said he spotted some problems in the national team’s training camp and players preparing for the WHL.

“The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) seems sluggish in taking timely decisions, an approach which leads to mistakes in future,” he said.

“Our forwards are average and [therefore] their playing quality should improve in the camp for the WHL.”

The PHF has organised national team’s 15-day training camp in Abbottabad for the WHL to be held in Malaysia from June 29 to July 7. The camp will conclude on June 15.

Pakistan in the WHL are placed in pool ‘B’ alongside South Africa, England and Malaysia.

Shahnaz advised head coach Akthar Rasool to urge his players to focus on attacking hockey which he emphasised was the demand in modern field hockey.

“Nowadays hockey is played very fast giving players little time to react in the field,” he said adding a comprehensive plan to counter opponents’ game plan should be set by the coach and the PHF.

Shahnaz further said that the conversion rate of short-corners should be improved. “It is time our forwards develop excellence in using short-corners productively.” —APP

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