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Junaid worried over falling hockey standard

  • November 21, 2020

RAWALPINDI: National team coach Khawaja Junaid was concerned about the overall falling standard of the game of hockey, saying that revolutionary steps are required at teenage level to bring back the lost glory.

Talking to ‘The News’ on the sidelines of the National Hockey Championship semi-finals here at the MPCL Ground on Thursday, he said he was not all that happy to see the overall standard of the game in the event.

“Admitting that all players are coming out of a long break because of Covid-19, yet I feel these all players are professionals and they should have come well-prepared,” Junaid said.

What pinched the coach most was the majority of players’ inability to play with the same spirit throughout 60 minutes of play. “It is the fitness level that is the most worrying point. Modern hockey is all about fitness and strength. Sadly that element is lacking from a good majority of players. If you are professional, you have to be extremely fit and ready for all tournaments. I have watched the entire competition and have a feeling that a lot is required to make top aspirants ready for international events,” he said.

The national team head coach said that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is required to invest heavily in junior hockey especially on under-16 players.

“I am happy to know that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hockey Association is to organise national under-16 event later this month. Such events are required to spot talent and groom it to the highest level. We definitely require a systematic approach to nourish youth, expose them internationally, and to keep working on their fitness and strength from the very start of their career,” he added.

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