KARACHI: Pakistan hockey captain Muhammad Imran is confident of the team’s preparations ahead of the Hockey World League Semi-finals scheduled to begin from June 20 in Antwerp, which will also serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The national team has already undertaken two preparatory tours for the qualifiers — the Four-Nation Hobart International Challenge in Australia where they finished second, and a four-match stint in Korea where they lost one match and drew two.
Imran believes that the tours have highlighted all their weak spots which they will tackle in the week-long training camp starting from the first week of June. “Both the tours were successful in teaching us what was needed,” Imran told The Express Tribune. “We have pointed out the mistakes and weak areas to work on which we will strive to overcome in the final phase of the training camp.”
The Pakistan Hockey Federation intends to train the players for a week before sending the team to Belgium, 12 days before the event is scheduled to start so that the players can acclimatise themselves to the playing conditions there.
Meanwhile, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh, after analysing the team’s performances on the tours, has asked the players to improve their fitness as he believes that is the key to reaching their goal.
“Players who have been active in the game since March without a gap have been given a week’s rest, while others have been advised to work hard on their fitness routine. The players need to be at their best for the qualifiers,” said Sheikh.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2015.
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