KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is still struggling to finalise the squad that will represent the country in next year’s London Olympics.
The PHF officials had hoped to find an ideal combination for the mega event at the end of the European tour last month. However, according to chief selector Hanif Khan, the federation still needed to experiment with different combinations in upcoming tournaments before the Champions Trophy takes place in December.
The chief selector declared that the make-up of the side will witness many changes before the end of the year.
“There will be many changes in the team for the upcoming events before the Champions Trophy,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “We had planned to get a fair idea as to what our team would be for the Olympics by the end of the European tour. But unfortunately we’re still in the middle of finding the best combination. The Olympic squad will be a combination of youngsters and seniors but I can’t guarantee any player’s inclusion at the moment.”
‘Seniors being irresponsible’
Khan also lashed out Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt for not doing justice to their experience and talent.
“I don’t think Abbas or Butt have realised their responsibility towards the team. Apart from scoring goals, Abbas is first and foremost a defender. He should be able to do that. Right now the team badly needs to work on defence because we have been conceding goals to lowly-ranked teams. Similarly Butt has been missing a lot of opportunities as a quality forward.”
Meanwhile, the camp for the Asian Champions Trophy that kicks off from September 3 in China got underway yesterday under manager Khwaja Junaid’s supervision. Junaid believed that the team needed to improve its defending and goal-scoring skills in order to win the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.