Junior hockey team management to be named in a couple of days

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is likely to announce the national junior team management in a couple of days as well as the schedule of the training camp, ‘The News’ learnt on Sunday.

Pakistan are to participate in the Junior Asia Cup, which will be played in Bangladesh in June 2020. The Asia Cup is also the qualifying round for Junior World Cup 2021.

The PHF is to name a manager, a head coach, assistant coaches and a physical instructor.

Hockey fraternity has expressed surprise at the delay in the appointment of junior team’s management as only six months are left before the Junior Asia Cup. The four semi-finalists of Asia Cup will qualify the Junior World Cup.

Former Olympian Qamar Zia, a critic of PHF, said that the delay was hurting Pakistan hockey. “Our junior team missed the last World Cup due to which we are still suffering as our backup talent has been wasted and we are compelled to continue with old players in our senior team. They did not deliver and we failed to qualify for the World Cup and Olympics,” he said.

He said that PHF should appoint the junior team management as soon as possible and start the preparation for Asia Cup as it was the lifeline of Pakistan hockey.

Pakistan missed the Junior World Cup because of India’s machinations.

Some former internationals and Olympians who have not served in team management before are expected to be given responsibilities with the juniors, sources said.

It was also learnt that the training camp would be held in Lahore or Karachi. The final decision is expected in a couple of days.

The sources also said that PHF was trying its best to organise series with some strong teams before the Asia Cup. If unavailability of funds created problems, then three or five matches between the seniors and the juniors will be organised.

The national senior team is to participate in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament in March in Malaysia. The series will also help it remain fit and in form.

In early 1980s, whenever junior team went to play World Cup, the PHF used to organise a series against seniors.

The national selection committee led by Olympian Manzoor Junior has picked 51 players for the training camp on the basis of performance in the recently held national junior championship.


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