KARACHI: Imran Butt – the younger brother of former national hockey team captain Rehan Butt – is an emerging hockey goalkeeper who has set himself a target to bring back accolades for Pakistan hockey.
At the eight-nation Asia cup in Malaysia where Pakistan finished third and missed the chance to appear in the 2014 hockey World Cup, the Greenshirts’ defence seemed vulnerable compared to powerhouses like Australia and the Netherlands.
Butt, who is likely to be selected for the upcoming Asian Games, is hopeful of improving the defence standards of the national team.
“There is no doubt that a goalkeeper has immense responsibilities,” the 25-year-old told The Express Tribune.
“The rule changes that favour goal-scoring have made things more difficult for us [goalkeepers].
“I’ve worked a lot with our coaches since the Asia Cup, and my target is to block the maximum number of moves to avoid a repeat of that event as well as the World Hockey League.
“I’ve trained with coaches Sameer Hussain and Abuzar Umrao, who are trying improve the quality of defence as well. [Head coach] Shahnaz Sheikh is also working with us using modern techniques.”
Butt said new talented players in the camp can help the Pakistan team win back its place in the hockey world.
“The management has included talented youngsters in the camp, and the coaches are trying their best to break the communication gap between them.”
The goalkeeper, who has been playing hockey since the age of 13, said that Pakistan’s qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics is his main target.
“My dream is to stand on atop the podium and receive a medal for my country,” said Butt, adding that he drew inspiration from former goalkeeper Salman Akbar.
“Pakistan hockey has earned a lot of achievements in the last Asian Games, and I aim to keep the standards high this time as well.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary Rana Mujahid has said that the second phase of training camp for participation in the Asian Games will run from July 2-18 at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2014.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ