LAHORE: Pakistan development hockey squad will visit Oman to play a five test hockey series next month instead of Pakistan junior team.
This was stated by coaches of the national junior team, former captains and Olympians, Muhammad Usman, Rehan Butt and Muhammad Saqlain, at a news conference on Friday at the national hockey stadium.
They said the decision to send the Pakistan development squad to Oman has been taken after Oman hockey authorities informed the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) that junior team will be pitted against their senior side in the test series commencing from September 5-19.
“Oman Hockey Federation is preparing its senior team for the Asia Cup being played in October in Bangladesh and that is why the PHF, in consultation with us, decided to send national development squad in order to impart training to those players who were not considered for the national senior and junior teams,” they said.
They said they will be imparting training to the development squad from tomorrow, Saturday at the Johar hockey stadium and the training camp of the junior team has been terminated and players will resume training next month after the return of the development squad from Oman.
They said there was no use to send the Pakistan U19 junior team to Oman as the players invited to attend the camp were very raw and the coaches were in the process of judging their individual talent by imparting them the basics of the game.
“It was not possible for us to groom a young side in two weeks to undertake the tour, they said.
“Our prime objective is to groom the national junior team for future hockey events and we have been given the responsibility of the Pak development squad for the time being “, they said, adding that “the junior team is our hockey’s future and we will work hard to create a pool of talented players and to broaden the base of the game.”
To a question, Usman said the development squad will be giving a tough fight to the Oman team during the tour.
Rehan said the tour will benefit the national hockey side as our teams are bound to play hockey abroad because of no international hockey activities at home. Saqlain said, “Once we were the world champions and now we are struggling at Asia level which speaks volume of our downfall of hockey”. We have to groom junior players to regain lost glory”, he added.