Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: PHF finalises players for hockey trials

A total of 131 selected to feature in national camp

Nabil Tahir February 23, 2016

KARACHI: The five-member selection committee of the Pakistan Hockey Federation shortlisted a group of 131 players for the upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the conclusion of the first phase of the open trials held all over Pakistan.

The talent pool, selected by Olympians Abdul Rasheed Junior, Saeed Khan, Farhat Hassan Khan, Waseem Feroze and Qasim Khan, features 63 players of Punjab, 40 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Fata and Islamabad combined and a paltry 28 from Sindh and Balochistan.

When enquired about Punjab’s abnormally large contribution to the group, Feroze pointed towards the province’s strong hockey infrastructure at the grass-root level. “During the open trials we saw that the highest turnout was from Punjab which isn’t surprising since it is where the most hockey tournaments at school and club level are organised.”

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Linking the rest of the country’s lower representation with their flailing interest in hockey, Feroze explained, “We had an extra day’s trial in Karachi, but the total turnout was 33 players, and in Peshawar around 52 players, while in Punjab around 80 players appeared, which is why a large number of players are named from that province.”

It is pertinent to mention here that some participants from the Sindh and Balochistan region had complained that they had intentionally skipped the trials in Karachi as three of the five selectors were missing.

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The five-day trials of the aforementioned 131 will begin from, at the end of which the pool’s size will be trimmed to 40.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd,  2016.

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