European tour to groom junior hockey team for the World Cup, says Tahir Zaman
Lahore: The chief coach Tahir Zaman said. “The junior hockey team’s upcoming European tour will be beneficial in grooming them for the Junior World Cup. The tour will not only provide them experience but would also generate confidence in them. The team will be named in a couple of days.”
While speaking to the media Pakistan Junior hockey team’s head coach said, “The team will leave for Germany on July 12 to participate in a 4-nation tournament to be played from July 21-24 in Hanover. The teams taking part are Pakistan, Germany, Holland and Belgium. Before taking part in the tournament Pakistan junior hockey team will play two matches against Holland under-21 on July 14 and 15 followed by three matches against top German clubs on July 17, 18 and 19.“
He further told, “Other hockey playing countries are preparing their junior teams for the last three years for the World Cup whereas we have started preparing our team for the last one year and since we have less time we will try our best to utilize it to the maximum.”
More emphasis will be laid on the defense of the junior hockey team, whereas, the penalty-corners, drills, striking skills and physical fitness are also under focus. The physical fitness of players has improved a lot due to the physical training camp at Abbottabad and their participation in the Five-a-side hockey tournament.
Tahir Zaman said the second stage of the European tour will begin in August in Spain and France where the Junior hockey team will play series against Spain’s Under-23 teams from 29 to 31 August following a six-match series against France from Sep 2 to 10 that includes 3 matches with Under-21. Tahir Zaman is expecting to see some positive results in the upcoming European tour but the real performance results would be assessed in November during the Sultan Johar Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia. In this tournament all top ranking teams from Europe and Asia will be participating and it will be the time to see where our team stands.
While replying to a question the head coach said Five-a-side tournament was not only appreciated by the hockey circles but the players also got plenty of opportunity to play aggressive hockey. In future such tournaments will be further expanded.