LAHORE, Oct 25: With the national selection committee dissolved, Pakistan hockey coach Akhtar Rasool announced the 28 probables for the national team’s training camp on Thursday with a surprise inclusion and a few notable exclusions.
Waseem Ahmed, who had called it a day after the London Olympics, was called up along with another senior Shakeel Abbasi while skipper Sohail Abbas and striker Rehan Butt failed to get the nod.
The training camp, which will be held at the newly-developed hockey ground in Lahore from Oct 31, will help in selecting the best possible squad for back-to-back international assignments of Champions Trophy and Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in December.
Akhtar said that he had personally spoken to Waseem and asked him to withdraw his decision to retire.
“I believe Waseem’s performance at the London Games was good and he can still serve the national team so I made my best efforts to call him back,” Akhtar told Dawn.
Waseem’s performances at the Olympics were far better to those delivered by Sohail, Shakeel and Rehan and it is highly likely that he will go to Australia as the national team captain and say his final farewell to international hockey after the Champions Trophy.
On the omission of Rehan and Sohail, Akhtar said: “Both of them are great players but now it’s time for them to take a decision about their future. Their performances in London remained below-par so the team management decided not to select them.”
Although Shakeel too wasn’t impressive in London, Akhtar said that the striker “had the abilities to play better in patches” and thus he was retained.
Goalkeeper Salman Akbar, who was summoned to the training camp for the London Olympics but wasn’t selected, was also not called up for the camp.
The probables will attend the camp at the newly-developed hockey arena at Johar Town.
The first assignment of the national team is an international series to be held Perth from Nov 22 to 25, followed by the 34th Champions Trophy in Melbourne from Dec 1 to 9 and finally the Asian Champions Trophy in Qatar from Dec 22.
Junior players like Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Rafique, Ali Hassan Faraz, Talal Khalid, Sibtain Naqvi, Waqas Liaqat and Salman Hussain have also been included in the camp.
Olympians Hanif Khan, Ahmad Alam and Ajmal Khan Lodhi are included in the coaching panel, which will work under Akhtar.
The PHF has also announced 31 probables for the training camp of the women’s side, which is being held at Naseer Bunda Stadium in Islamabad from Oct 31, to select the team for the Asia Cup in Singapore from Dec 6.
Tanzeela Aamir Cheema is the team manager with Olympian Mohammad Usman as head coach and Mohammad Irfan as coach.
Probables: Men’s: Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Mohammad Irfan Sr., Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Imran Sr., Mohammad Rizwan Sr., Mohammad Tousiq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Umar Bhutta, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Rizwan Jr., Ali Shan, Mohammad Ateeq, Mohammad Nawaz, Waseem Ahmed, Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammad Imran Jr., Ahmed Zubair, Usman Rafique, Ali Hassan Faraz, Mohammad Talal Khalid, Mohammad Kashif Ali, Syed Sibtain Naqvi, Waqas Liaqat Butt and Mohammad Salman Hussain.
Women’s: Rizwana Yasmeen, Maria Saeed, Fakhra Tabassum, Irum Bukhari, Sehrish Ghumman, Nadia Kazim, Iqra Javaid, Aqsa Mumtaz, Marina Anwar, Zakia Nawaz, Maria Sabir, Ambreen Arshad, Afsheen Noreen, Ishrat Abbas, Asma Ashraf, Amna Mir, Shahida G. Raza, Sana Hanfi, Sanam Yousaf, Nain Tara, Zaib-un-Nisa, Uzma Lal, Gul Pari, Hina Kanwal, Azra Nasir, Ayesha Bashir, Rabia Sarwar, Rabia Qadir, Shukria Rashid, Fakhra Nayab and Sumaira Sajid.