LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation has decided to retain Akhtar Rasool as the head coach and manager of the national hockey team until next year's World Cup adding few professionals in the team management staff to boost the performance of the team.
“Chief manager and coach, Akhtar Rasool and coach, Hanif Khan will continue until the 2014 World Cup and we are thankful to Akhtar to show his willingness to remain with the team till the Cup,” said Secretary PHF, Muhammad Asif Bajwa, at a news conference at the national hockey stadium.
Earlier reports had suggested that Akhtar was planning to take time off from hockey to focus on his political career. However, Akhtar said he had made the decision in the larger interest of hockey and to play his part in improving the Greenshirts’ performance.
“World Cup is our main target and I will be doing my best to elevate the team's performance in the mega event,” he said.
“Prior to the World Cup we will be defending the title in Asia Cup and it would be my utmost effort to help the team in maintaining its number one status in Asia.”
During Akhtar's tenure, Pakistan bagged a bronze medal in the last Champions Trophy and gold medal in the Asian Champions Trophy last year, but only could take seventh position at the London Olympics.
On team management's request, Adnan Zakir has been appointed as trainer and nutritionist while Asrhad Hussain will be the goal keeping coach whereas, Tahir Zaman will be available to the senior team management and will be giving his input whenever his services are required.
The first phase of the national team’s training for the World Hockey Series will commence from May 29 at Abbottabad and the second phase will commence from June 18 in Karachi and the team will leave for Malaysia on June 23 to take part in the league starting from June 29.