ISLAMABAD: Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh was an optimistic man when it came to gauging the country’s medal-winning chances at this year’s hockey event of the London Olympics.
Sheikh said that the Greenshirts should win three matches at the event even though they are placed in a tough group where they will take on world champions Australia, Great Britian, Spain, Argentina and another team from among the qualifiers — South Africa, Japan and China.
Despite the level of competitiveness, Sheikh said that Pakistan should be able to do well.
“I believe accumulating 10 points with three wins and a draw out of five matches is not impossible for Pakistan,” said Sheikh before adding that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had made a few mistakes when it came to organising the training camp, currently underway at the Naseer Bunda Stadium, ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup that takes place later this month.
The Olympian questioned the absence of players from the camp with the Olympics around the corner.
“It’s mismanagement on the PHF’s part. What type of a camp is it without players?”
Mazhar Abbas, Kashif Javaid, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Tousiq, Ali Shan, Syed Kashif Shah, Muhammad Irfan and Muhammad Umar Bhutta are not taking part in the camp since they have been named in an 18-member squad for the upcoming Junior Asia Cup also in Malaysia.
“When you know these junior players won’t be able to participate then why name them in the senior camp probables list? All players need to be trained equally and their absence will hurt the team.”
Team manager in agreement
Meanwhile, team manager Khawaja Junaid, who is present at the camp, agreed that the players’ absence would have ‘some impact’ on proceedings.
“Their participation in the Asia Cup was also important but we should’ve had them here at the camp since they form the available pool of talented players in the country,” said Junaid.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.
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