Pakistan hockey camp for Asia Cup begins

Published May 11, 2022
This picture shows Shakeel Abbasi (2R) of Pakistan and Jiang Xishang (2L) of China fight for the ball during the third field hockey match between Pakistan and China in Faisalabad. — File photo/AFP
This picture shows Shakeel Abbasi (2R) of Pakistan and Jiang Xishang (2L) of China fight for the ball during the third field hockey match between Pakistan and China in Faisalabad. — File photo/AFP

LAHORE: The Pakistan hockey team started its preparations for the upcoming Asia Cup with a training camp here at the National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

A day earlier, a separate camp for a five-a-side tournament to be held in Switzerland, also kicked off. The Asia Cup starts on May 23 in Jakarta.

The national side recently returned from its tour of Europe, where it played the likes of Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

Camp commandant Khawaja Junaid said the problems identified during the tour were being brought in focus during training.

Junaid said that the tour helped identify the strength and weakness of the players and that now the team management was in a better position to chalk out a comprehensive plan to prepare a strong team for the Asia Cup.

Junaid said that the national side is aiming for a place in the final of the Asia Cup to ensure qualification for next year’s World Cup.

The 1994 World Cup winner believed Pakistan needed to work on improving their penalty-corner conversion as well as their goalkeepers; strengths.

Although both departments showed progress in Europe, Junaid said more work needed to be done to prepare players to compete at the international level.

During their visit to Europe, Pakistan drew a couple of two-match series against the Netherlands and Spain and lost a solitary outing against Belgium.

The five-a-side team is being prepared by Rehan Butt, another former Olympian.

Butt said a nine-man team roster will be finalised for the tournament which is set to feature India, Poland, Malaysia and hosts Switzerland in Lausanne on June 4 and 5.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2022

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