KARACHI: Pakistan’s U16 hockey team received a warm welcome as they returned from Singapore after winning the Asia Cup.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials including secretary Asif Bajwa and dozens of hockey fans gathered at the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore yesterday to greet the victorious team.
The colts remained undefeated in the tournament, winning six successive matches in the new five-a-side format.
Chief coach Tahir Zaman credited the players for the impressive performance.
“It wasn’t an easy task,” Zaman told reporters on return. “The tournament was new but the way these youngsters responded was commendable. They kept improving their performance after every match.”
The former Olympian said a bright future for the young players was expected, while calling for consistent support from the federation.
Young captain Nohaid Zahid Malik said the team gained a lot of confidence after winning the title.
“All the players were passionate to win and our hard work yielded the desired results,” said Malik. “This title triumph has given us a lot of confidence which will help us in next year’s Youth Olympics in China.”
Meanwhile, the PHF secretary said the team’s performance proved the federation’s youth programme was heading in the right direction.
“These youngsters are our future and we will continue to support them,” said Bajwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2013.