Euro­pean tour a step for­ward to groom team for Jr World Cup: Tahir

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

LAHORE—The head coach of Pak­istan Ju­nior hockey team, for­mer Olympian Tahir Za­man said the Euro­pean tour is a step for­ward to groom the play­ers for the Ju­nior World Cup to be played in Luc­know, In­dia in De­cem­ber this year.

“The two-leg Euro­pean tour will ex­pose the play­ers to the much needed in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence be­sides boost­ing their con­fi­dence”, he told me­dia per­sons here on Mon­day.

Pak Jr team for the tour of Europe will be named in a few days. It will leave for Ger­many on July 12 to take part in a 4Na­tion tour­na­ment to be played from July 21-24 in Hanover. Pak­istan, Ger­many, Hol­land and Bel­gium are the par­tic­i­pat­ing teams of the event.

Prior to tak­ing part in the tour­na­ment, the green shirts will play two matches against Hol­land U21 in Ger­man city of Arn­hem on July 14 and 15 fol­lowed by three matches against top Ger­man clubs on July 17,18 and 19 at the same venue.

Tahir said the Euro­pean tour is of greater sig­nif­i­cance in terms of el­e­vat­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­po­sure of the play­ers as they will be play­ing a num­ber of matches against dif­fer­ent Euro­pean sides as a part of their prepa­ra­tions for the Jr World Cup.

“The other coun­tries are pre­par­ing their re­spec­tive ju­nior teams for the last three years for the Cup whereas we have started pre­par­ing our team for the last one year and in the given cir­cum­stances we have less time to bring our team at par with the Euro­pean sides keep­ing an eye on the World Cup”, he said.

The head coach said the present regime of Pak­istan Hockey Fed­er­a­tion is ex­tend­ing all our co­op­er­a­tion for the groom­ing the team know­ing the harsh re­al­ity that its prepa­ra­tions were not started well in time by the pre­vi­ous PHF regime.

The for­mer cel­e­brated for­ward said the main em­pha­sis is be­ing laid on im­prov­ing de­fence of the team in penalty cor­ner drills be­sides boost­ing its strik­ing abil­ity in the cir­cle and en­hanc­ing over­all phys­i­cal fit­ness of the play­ers.

He was of the view that the phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing camp or­ga­nized at Ab­bot­tabad has helped in boost­ing play­ers phys­i­cal fit­ness and now the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the ju­nior play­ers in the re­cently con­cluded 5-a-side hockey tour­na­ment added to such ef­forts of tak­ing play­ers phys­i­cal fit­ness to a high level.

“The Euro­pean tour will help in judg­ing im­prove­ment in play­ers tech­nique and phys­i­cal fit­ness and the short­com­ings no­ticed will be rec­ti­fied on day to day ba­sis dur­ing the tour”.he main­tained.

The head coach of the team said the sec­ond leg of the tour will com­mence in the last week of Au­gust with the tour of Spain and France. Pak ju­niors will play three matches against Span­ish U23 on Au­gust 29,30 and 31 fol­lowed by six match se­ries against France. They will play three matches against French se­nior de­vel­oped side and three against U21 from Septem­ber 2 to 10.

“It will be a re­sult ori­ented tour as we will fully fo­cus­ing on pre­par­ing the team on new lines and the strat­egy drawn af­ter the com­ple­tion of the first leg of the tour “,said the for­mer Olympian.

He said the real test of know­ing team’s per­for­mance comes in Novem­ber when it will be play­ing in Sul­tan Jo­had Cup ju­nior hockey tour­na­ment in Malaysia.

“All the top teams of Europe and Asia will be tak­ing part in it and the re­sults achieved by our team dur­ing the event will tell us where our team stands ahead of its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Ju­nior World Cup”, he said.—APP

Ge­or­gia El­wiss of Eng­land struck 77 off 78 balls against Pak­istan dur­ing 3rd women’s ODI at Taun­ton on Mon­day.

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