KARACHI: Former hockey players have expressed concern over PHF’s focus on physical training, especially of the junior team.
It is pertinent to mention here that PHF has announced the physical training camp for both national junior and senior teams in Abbottabad.
Talking to ‘The News’ on Monday, they said that it was good that hockey activities in the country were resuming. But it seems that PHF management, its coaches, and team management are only paying attention to the physical training and are ignoring the hockey skills, temperament and ability to sustain match pressure, which can be improved only when players are given matches.
Former Olympian Kamran Ashraf, who has vast experience of coaching juniors, said that it is necessary to give importance to physical training and fitness but equally important are honing the ability to sustain match pressure before the Asia Cup in January 2021.
The tournament will witness tough competition among the top teams of Asia, as there are three spots to secure in Junior Hockey World Cup. “Our junior team didn’t participate in the last World Cup in 2016 in India due to some reasons. And due to it, our hockey suffered a lot as we didn’t have timely replacement of the senior players,” Kamran said.
“Our junior players do not have much international exposure and due to which, they lack the ability to sustain pressure in crucial matches which would affect our performance in mega-events like Junior Asia Cup and Junior World Cup. Thus, alongside physical training PHF should plan to arrange maximum matches before the Asia Cup,” he added.
He was of the view that due to the lack of time, the best solution is to organise series of matches between Pakistan’s senior and junior teams or Pakistan whites and greens before the Asia Cup.
Former Olympian Qamar Zia said that hockey is not like boxing, wrestling, judo or karate, for which only physical training is required. “The experience of playing matches is crucial,” he said.
He said the players were engaged in physical training as per PHF’s programme. “So why only physical training camp is being organised in October. There is need for a full training camp so that along with physical training their field skills also improve. The lack of exposure of matches in the coming Junior Asia Cup 2021 could damage the team’s performance,” he added.
“How will they survive in the coming events if they are not able to handle pressure situations, in games against India, South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia,” he asked. He added that Pakistan juniors must perform well in the Asia Cup to qualify for the World Cup. “These boys are going to be part of the senior team. They need training of every kind,” Qamar said.