KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) selection committee has announced an 18-member squad that will be traveling to Antwerp, Belgium for the FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals, which will also serve as the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers.
The players were selected after holding trials at the Naseer Nunda Hockey Stadium in Islamabad on Friday.
The team will be led by senior defender Muhammad Imran, while experienced players Rashid Mehmood and Muhammad Rizwan Senior, who were unable to take part in preparatory tours and the training camp due to their busy season at the European league, have been named in the squad.
Pakistan will begin their campaign on the first day of the tournament on June 20 against Poland. They have been placed in Pool A along with top-ranked Australia, India, Poland and France. In Pool B, hosts Belgium, Great Britain, Malaysia, Ireland and China will compete against each other.
The Greenshirts have to finish in the top three in order to qualify for the FIH Hockey World League Final Round and to secure a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Head coach Shahnaz Sheikh is satisfied with the team’s preparation. “As they will be clashing with the finest teams, the players are working on their strategies and are confident of putting on a good show,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “Their pool is tough, but our boys are excited to face Australia yet again, while a match against India is always exciting.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2015.
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