KARACHI: Pakistan’s junior hockey team is set to face reigning world champions Germany in the opener of four-nation tournament today in Hannover, Germany.
The youngsters in green, who have qualified for the Junior World Cup, are led by the talented Dilber Hussain, who is confident that they will give a tough time to Germany.
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“We have always been a surprise package,” claimed Hussain while talking to The Express Tribune. “Although our senior team — of which I was a part as well — failed to qualify for the Olympics, the new talent of the U21 team has really impressed the coaches and officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation.”
He added that out of the training camp’s big pool to choose from, the fittest of the lot were selected for the tournament.
“The players did not waste time in Ramazan and kept practicing in their respective hometowns,” said Hussain. “I’m optimistic that they will not only perform well at the tournament but will also learn from other teams and prepare themselves for the World Cup.”
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The 20-year-old shared that the legendary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, who is now the secretary of PHF, was his first inspiration as a player. “I’ve always loved the way Shahbaz Senior used to play and tried to learn from him a lot. Although he is the secretary now, but he still gave useful tips and motivation that eventually led me to be chosen as captain of the team.”
Hussain further said that his current role model is former senior team captain Muhammad Imran. “I’ve played under Imran for several years, he’s seen and experienced both old hockey and new and I’ve learnt a lot from that knowledge.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2016.
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