The newly-appointed Pakistan hockey coach Michel van den Heuvel took charge of his duties with an aim to change fortunes of the team that is experiencing its worst slump in recent times.
The former Holland national coach, who arrived in the city on Sunday night, took control of the team immediately and supervised proceedings on the opening day of the camp that started at Karachi’s Hockey Club of Pakistan yesterday.
“I’m here with an aim to make the team one of the top units in the world,” said Heuvel after the training session. “I’ll try to produce my best and help the team in regaining its lost standards.”
The coach, who will earn approximately Rs1.1 million per month, rejected the notion that he accepted the job for the money. “It wasn’t just the money that attracted me. I took up the offer as a challenge,” he said before adding that Pakistan have been giants in the world of hockey and he wanted to see the same image of the team under his reign.
“It’s not impossible for the team to retain top spot. Pakistan has loads of talent and there are some players who can still help the team in achieving the top spot.”
The coach, who held the training session in the presence of a handful of police officials, denied security was a concern for him. He said that his first target was next month’s European tour where Pakistan will be play France, Spain and Holland.
Juniors need coach more than seniors
Meanwhile, chief selector Hanif Khan felt there was a need of the foreign coach for the junior players instead of the seniors as working with the experienced players would not do any wonders.
The Olympian said that the foreign coach should have been appointed for the budding youngsters and upcoming talent.
“It’s never easy to change the approach of the senior players and in contrast working with the youngsters could yield favourable results.”
Drag-flick specialist Sohail Abbas, Muhammad Zubair and Muhammad Tauseeq were the players to miss the opening day of camp that saw routine exercises under the supervision of the new coach. According to team manager Manzoor Hussain, Abbas was absent without giving notification while Zubair and Tauseeq will join the camp soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2010.