KARACHI: Pakistan failed to bag gold in the Asian Champions Trophy but managed to test its bench-strength before important assignments like the year-end Champions Trophy and next year’s Olympics, according to captain Mohammad Imran.
Imran lauded the efforts of youngsters who were playing their first international tournament and, according to the captain, showed promise while providing enough evidence that they can successfully replace the seniors for major events.
“We tried new combinations with success and that will help us in the Champions Trophy and the Olympics,” said Imran. “That was our main target and we’ve achieved that.”
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) selection committee included youngsters in the team by omitting penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas, former captain Rehan Butt and experienced goal-keeper Salman Akber.
Abbas wasn’t missed badly
Pakistan’s penalty-corner conversion rate decreased in the absence of Abbas but the captain said the youngsters coped well despite the senior’s absence.
The Greenshirts failed to score on a single penalty-corner out of eight in the final against India.
“Although the new players failed to score in the final, they availed their penalty-corner chances well earlier in the tournament. They can improve with more training and exposure.”
Meanwhile, team manager Khwaja Junaid felt that even Abbas’ presence does not assure successful short corner.
“Many people are saying that Abbas could have scored in the final but his presence doesn’t guarantee a goal every time we get a penalty corner.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.
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