KARACHI: Thirty-seven senior players are gearing up for representing Pakistan in an international tour after concluding the second practice phase of the ongoing camp as preparations continue for the Asian Games in September.
Talking to The Express Tribune, national head coach Shahnaz Sheikh said, “The team has concluded its second phase of practice satisfactorily and all the players are set for an international tour.
“The tour is actually a proposed programme which will be a part of the next [third] phase of the camp. I’ve sent a proposal to the Pakistan Hockey Federation about touring either Asia or Europe; it will be a 10 to 12 day tour during which we’ll play eight matches.”
Sheikh added that while the Pakistan team has not played an international match for the past 11 months, its competitors had been involved in league matches and have made an appearance in the World Cup besides featuring in the Commonwealth Games in August. This meant the country was lagging behind.
“This tour is important for all of us, as this will be my first international tour as a coach and we will need to prove ourselves,” he said.
The next phase will resume on August 3. It will begin with trials for the selection of the national team after which the last two weeks of August will be dedicated to the international tour.
The coach said he was optimistic about reviving hockey in Pakistan with his training programme and selected players.
“We have been given a chance to revive hockey in Pakistan, and I am satisfied with the response I’m getting from players in the camp so far.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.
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