Five-a-side hockey: Pakistan excited over new format

Coach hopes to gain from innovation as team departs for U16 Asia Cup.

Our Correspondent March 31, 2013
Pakistan hockey team against New Zealand. PHOTO: AZLANSHAHCUP.COM/FILE

KARACHI: Head coach Tahir Zaman said he was hopeful of the side gaining valuable experience as Pakistan gear up for the new five-a-side U16 Asia Cup, adding that the event will help hone the players’ individual skills.

The U16 Asia Cup will be played in Singapore from April 4 to 7, featuring as many as 10 teams from around
the continent.

It will be the first time that any official tournament will be played on a five-a-side pattern. The fixture of this format includes three sessions of 12 minutes with an interval of a couple of minutes in between.

Pakistan are tipped as favourites among the teams placed in Pool A that features Japan, China, Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei. The other pool includes Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.

Zaman, a former Olympian who is at the helm of mentoring the colts’ campaign, said the players will learn a lot from the tournament.

“We are excited about the new format,” the chief coach told The Express Tribune on the eve of the team’s departure. “If this format is persisted with, it will be good for teams like Pakistan and India because it suits our style of hockey. There will be improvement for players in areas of defence and attack because there will be a lot of reliance on individuals.

“The players worked really hard in the training camp and I am confident that will reflect on the field.”

Pakistan open their campaign on April 4 against Chinese Taipei.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2013.


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