KARACHI: Although his ticket to London is not confirmed yet, Salman Akbar remains optimistic about representing Pakistan at the Olympics after being invited to the training camp ahead of the team’s departure.
Akbar’s call-up to the probables camp by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) was made possible after unimpressive shows by Imran Butt and Imran Shah in goal. The 30-year old last played for Pakistan in the home series against China last December while the National Championship earlier this year was his last domestic stint.
“I was never confident about a comeback but I never lost hope,” Akbar, who is currently in the Netherlands, told The Express Tribune. “This hope kept me going and I never stopped training and was delighted to have been asked by the PHF to join the camp.”
A member of Asian Games gold medal winning team, Akbar said that although the Dutch season was over, he continued to attend a camp there in order to keep himself fit.
“I will be returning to Pakistan on Saturday and will join the camp as soon as possible. Whenever a player gets a recall, he comes back with more motivation. There’s no bigger honour for a player than to represent his country. I am fit and playing regularly. Although the results are not in our hands, one thing I can promise is that I will give my all-out efforts for the team.”
PHF announces probables
Apart from Akbar, the PHF also recalled Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed and Mohammad Imran to the camp.
The former captains were back in demand after Pakistan finished at the bottom in the Azlan Shah Cup. Goal-keeper Imran Shah, who was not in good touch in the Azlan Shah Cup, has also been included in the preliminary squad. The camp will start on June 26 at the at Army Sports & Physical Training School Tobe Camp, Abbottabad while the final Olympics squad is expected to be named in first week of July.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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