We should play against top teams regularly

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey head coach, both of national senior and junior squads, Khawaja Junaid on Monday said that the players could not become world-class players unless they are exposed against the top teams in the international arena.

Players would not gain anything by playing against lowly ranked teams and by winning them even by good margins. We only look for consolation by playing against weak teams and bag some victories. However, this would only make the situation worse and the teams though it be senior or junior would gain nothing and learn nothing,” Khawaja Junaid told PPI.

He added that the concentration for organising matches of the national junior and senior teams, should be the on the top teams of the world. The Pakistan junior hockey team will play a tri-nation series in Holland from June 25-28, in which Belgium would also participate along with the host team. On June 29, the team will leave for Belgium to play three test matches against the hosts.

“Our players need to be exposed against the tough European conditions. They will learn a lot by playing against Holland and would get accustomed to adverse conditions. The European teams are advancing by leaps and bounds and therefore we also need to learn from them, which may enable us to beat them in major tournaments,” Junaid explained.

The PHF selection committee announced the 18-member squad of junior hockey team, which would be featured in the above mentioned events. Junaid, the former Olympian who would accompany the team during their tour of Europe as head coach said that the federation strictly scrutinised the age of the players and the selected team has no over-aged players.

“We kept in mind that only those should be included in the junior side who could give around 10 to 12 years to the country, first as junior player and later in the senior squad.” “We brought in young players in the national senior team for the Azlan Shah Cup and our side gave some good performance in the tournament. We were in contest for the final berth till late in the competition, however some wrong decisions from the referee and our sheer bad luck pushed us back and we ended with fifth spot,” Junaid recollected.

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