Pakistan, Australia agree hockey tours

Both countries will send their juniors, seniors for home and away series

Nabil Tahir November 25, 2015

KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has agreed an exchange programme with an Australian delegation that will see both juniors and seniors sides play home and away series.

PHF president Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and PHF secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior met an Australian delegation comprising of foreign affairs and trade for South Asia director Michele Forster and first secretary economic and public diplomacy at the Australian High Commission in Islamabad Nicole Guihot at the Pakistan Army Officers Club in Islamabad.

8th Men’s Junior Asia Cup: India blow hot and Colt

The two sides agreed in principle that the Pakistan junior hockey team will tour Australia next year, with the Australians travelling either to Pakistan or to a neutral venue some time after that.

As per the agreement, Hockey Australia will also invite Pakistani umpires, coaches and technical staff to domestic activities and coaching education programmes in order to groom them and provide them with invaluable experience.

Junior hockey team looking forward to World Cup

The junior hockey team, which has just returned after confirming their World Cup berth courtesy of their runners-up finish at the Asia Cup in Malaysia, has already begun planning for the mega event in New Delhi in December 2016.

“We have planned training programmes that include national and international matches for the juniors as they need to play as many matches as they can before the World Cup,” coach Tahir Zaman told The Express Tribune.

Junior hockey: Colts geared up for Asia Cup

Zaman said the PHF will be inviting 40 new players to the training camp in order to further increase the player base.

“The junior team will most likely start their international matches with a trip to the Kookaburras under the agreed deal,” he added. “We will have to overcome the mistakes we made in the Asia Cup. We need to improve our conversion rate from penalty corners.”

The 46-year-old is excited by the current crop of players and thinks they can return the country to the echelons of the sport. “The juniors have a long way to go,” he said. “They are the future of Pakistan hockey and can bring the sport back to what it was during its heydays.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2015.

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