KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa said that though the team’s performance in the recentlyconcluded Azlan Shah Cup was not satisfactory, he expects the team to do well in the Asian Games after having played together for sometime.
“The team’s performance was not satisfactory for us in the Azlan Shah Cup,” said Bajwa. “However, if we analyse the squad that participated in the event and the time they got to develop the understanding among themselves before the event, we simply can say it was a good beginning and much more could be expected from the young players.”
Pakistan hockey team underwent major changes after its below-par performance in the World Cup, ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup held in Malaysia. Many senior players were overlooked for the Malaysian assignment and a new captain was appointed following Zeeshan Ashraf’s decision to skip the tournament.
Pakistan ended at the rockbottom in the 12-nation tournament – the worst ever performance in the prestigious World Cup event by the record four-times world champions.
Asif added that the team needed more time to practice and play together and as well as get some exposure against international teams before going into the major events such as the Commonwealth Games and especially the Asian Games.
“The Asian Games is a very important event for us so we’re trying to give maximum exposure to the young team before it goes into the prestigious event. The team will participate in a four-nation tournament in China. We will also try to send the team for some more tournaments against foreign teams,” he said.
Pakistan will play a fournation tournament which will be played in Dalian from July 7. Apart from Pakistan and China, Malaysia and Russia will also take part in the event.
Earlier, the PHF has also finalised the national team’s tour of Europe where the young team will play a series against Spain and Holland.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 25th, 2010.