Pakistan — the 1960, 1968 and 1984 Olympic hockey gold medalists — begin their campaign with opener against Spain on Monday. -Photo by AFP

LONDON: The Pakistan hockey team management on Saturday trimmed their 18-member squad to 16 for the Olympics, sidelining goalkeeper Imran Butt and full-back Syed Kashif Shah.

However, both Imran and Kashif will remain with the national squad in the Olympic Village as standbys.

Pakistan — the 1960, 1968 and 1984 Olympic hockey gold medalists — begin their campaign with opener against Spain on Monday.

Sources said head coach Akhtar Rasool wanted to include former captain and full-back Mohammad Imran in the final 16-member line-up.

Moreover, Imran Butt’s omission from the 18-member squad was expected. Sources told Dawn that Akhtar was in favour of including an experienced player like Imran in the final line-up instead of Kashif. Therefore, chief selector Hanif Khan along with other selectors backed the choice of head coach.

Interestingly, there had been rumours that some differences had developed at national team’s camp in London over selection of the final line-up. However, later it was decided in the national interest to give full weight to Akhtar’s proposal.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan team practised at the Olympic Park. Currently, the team’s morale does not seem to be high — that is understandable after the green-shirts lost their warm-up matches against Belgium (0-2) and the Netherlands (1-5).

Still, an upbeat coach Khawaja Junaid claimed the team had learnt from their mistakes during the warm-up matches, adding the boys were fit and gradually coming in the right shape for the Olympics.

“A good start against Spain will be a big boost for the boys. We will try to go all out to win this opening match,” Junaid remarked.

Meanwhile, a member of the selection committee Arshad Chaudhry who is in London, said different options were discussed for the selection of the final 16-member line-up before consensus was developed in this regard.

Final squad:

Imran Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Abbas (captain), Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Rizwan Jr, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Tousiq, Waseem Ahmed, Mohammad Waqas (vice-captain), Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Rizwan Senior, Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt. Standbys: Kashif Shah, Imran Butt.

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Comments (9)

usmaan khan
July 30, 2012 9:38 am
pakistan will shine like a star in the olympics inshallah usmaan khan london
imran
July 29, 2012 3:55 pm
Try to go out and play positive hockey. It's game and most probably one team will win & the other looses or may be a draw as well. Don't be just making overconfident statements and shouting out loud to the media that you are going to win. Proove it by winning and saying that you will play your heart out and let the result speak for you. All the very best to Green shirts. Aim for the stars but keep your feet on the ground.
Abbi
July 29, 2012 12:59 pm
sports is a total new field of what it used to be 20 years ago...... athletes and sport organizations have become vry sophisticated and its not just your physical fitness which counts but your ability to zone in , to be in the moment, will come through the mental sharpness... & this is definitely not achieved by just doing physical stuff.. coaches should spend time with individual athletes and team members to sharpen their mental skills so they perform in their peak when they are in the heat of the moment..
ahmad
July 29, 2012 4:05 pm
why is our selector in england?? no one expects this team to do scratch
Fahad
July 29, 2012 12:40 pm
Best of luck greenshirts. Pakistan ka naam roshan kar ke aana. Pakistan Zindabad
Ali
July 30, 2012 12:13 am
Interesting comment by the coach: "coach Khawaja Junaid claimed the boys were fit and gradually coming in the right shape for the Olympics" Isn't it a bit too late to be coming in shape now? They should have been ready for this at least 2 months ago.
SHAFIQ CHOHAN
July 29, 2012 1:47 pm
INSHA ALLAH PAKISTAN HOCKEY TEAM WILL WIN GOLD MEDAL IN OLYMPICS.
Munir Ahmed
July 30, 2012 10:30 am
I watched the Holland warm up match. The team only won one one short corner though they should have had 2-3. They lost goal on short corners and breaks. The dutch man stnding near the goal line and another striker were too fast for the Pakistani team. I must say the Pakistan team tried hard. The umpire wasn't help ful many times. His decisions during the attack didn't help the moral. The keeper saved endless goals. The game style has changed to football. This is where the team members don't have experience. Holland, UK, etc team members play weekly club hockey in the same condition and style. Non-Asian team members can also take
mukhtar butt greece
July 31, 2012 6:40 am
inshahallah
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