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