KARACHI: Senior hockey players Rashid Mehmood and Mohammad Rizwan have been included in the national squad to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, commencing from Wednesday in Malaysia.
The senior duo had been excluded from the final 20-member squad due to their unavailability for the trials and the national camp as they were busy playing in a domestic league in the Netherlands.
However, after getting the approval from their clubs to play for the national side, the duo approached the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and requested to be included in the squad, which the PHF accepted.
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The duo will now travel directly from the Netherlands to Malaysia and join the rest of their teammates today.
“We have always been available for the national team. Or first duty is to serve our nation and then the rest,” Mehmood told The Express Tribune from the Netherlands. “We were not contacted by the management before so we had no idea what was happening. The moment we were informed about this we contacted the management at our earliest. We have an agreement with our clubs in the Netherlands that we can leave anytime for national assignment.”
Meanwhile in Malaysia, Pakistan completed their first training session and captain Mohammad Irfan is confident of the team’s chances in the tournament.
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“We trained for 30 minutes to acclimatise to conditions here,” said Irfan. “The conditions are in our favour and following a full day of training tomorrow, we will play a practice match with Australia on Tuesday. The players are very comfortable and are ready to give their all.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2016.
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