KARACHI: Shahid Pervaiz Bhandara, the manager of Pakistan’s gold medal-winning team at the 2016 South Asian Games, believes the age difference, or lack thereof, between the players and the coaches was the primary reason behind the team’s success at the Games in India.
Speaking at a press conference held at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, Bhandara credited the youthful coaching duo of Mohammad Saqlain and Rehan Butt for creating an environment conducive for young players. “Both coaches developed a wonderful rapport with the players and used them according to their plans,” Bhandara told The Express Tribune. “The age difference of the coaches and the players was marginal which helped us a lot.”
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Head coach Saqlain seconded Bhandara’s opinion and said, “The small age difference between the coach and the players helped in developing a good understanding quickly, and as a coach I was satisfied with the performance of the team which conceded only one goal in the Games.”
Bhandara also urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation management to implement the same coaching strategy on all levels.
“The experience with the young coaches was fruitful, and I hope the same strategy is used with the senior team to get results,” he added.
The senior hockey team is currently being coached by the 57-year-old Olympian Hanif Khan, who also doubles as the team manager.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2016.
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