Team back on field as preparations begin

Published: February 12, 2013

The national team began training for their first international venture of the year. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK

KARACHI: After having rested for over a month following their Asian Champions Trophy triumph, the Greenshirts are back on the field and kicking.

Pakistan’s national hockey team has kick-started this year’s first training assignment and is preparing to take on next month’s Azlan Shah Cup.

The training camp, that started on Monday at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, will continue for three weeks. This camp is the team’s first activity at the venue which has been furbished with a newly-laid blue turf.

The team management has invited as many as 25 probables for the camp including seasoned striker Shakeel Abbasi and Mohammad Waseem.

The Azlan Shah Cup that will be played in Ipoh, Malaysia from March 9 to 17 will be competed among six countries. Apart from Pakistan and hosts Malaysia, defending champions New Zealand, Australia, India and South Korea will take part in the event.

Team coach Hanif Khan said that the camp on the blue-turf will benefit the team. “The forthcoming event will be played on the same surface so it will help us prepare well,” the coach told The Express Tribune.

He said the training will be held in two sessions daily and player fitness will be the priority this time around. “We will try to minimise our weaknesses. The team needs to improve their defence and finishing.”

Hanif said the training camp was expected to continue till March 5 before the team’s departure for Malaysia.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.

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