KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) selection committee included two goal-keepers in the national squad while announcing an 18-man squad for the Asian Champions Trophy to be played in China next month.
Experienced campaigner Mohammad Imran has been retained as captain while striker Shakeel Abbasi will be the vice-captain for the tournament to be played from September 3 to 11.
The selection committee, headed by Olympian Hanif Khan and comprising Khalid Bashir and Arshad Ali Chaudary, selected the squad after observing the day-long trials at Islamabad’s Naseer Bunda Stadium yesterday.
The selectors have included young goalies Imran Shah and Imran Butt to replace Salman Akbar who has been rested. Another experienced duo of Rehan Butt and Sohail Abbas were also omitted to pave way for youngsters as the PHF looks for its best possible squad prior to the Champions Trophy in December and next year’s Olympics.
Pakistan’s head coach Michel Van Den Heuvel will be accompanying the team in China while Olympian Khwaja Junaid has been retained as team manger.
‘Youngsters can cement place for the Olympics’
Meanwhile, the chief selector said the youngsters who have replaced the senior players can cement their place in the national team.
“This tournament is a good chance for youngsters to perform and make a permanent spot,” said Khan. “The new players can cement their place for Champions Trophy and London Olympics by giving a good show in China.”
However, he did not rule out the omitted seniors for the two assignments that Pakistan hockey faces in the near future.
“The senior players will remain in contention and can make a comeback by proving fitness and form.”
Mohammad Imran (captain), Shakeel Abbasi (vice-captain), Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Mohammad Irfan, Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Tousiq, Waseem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mehmood, Mohammad Kashif Javed, Mohammad Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Rizwan Senior, Mohammad Umar Bhutta and Ali Shan
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.
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