Shahnaz eyes improved show at Asian Games

He is head coach of Pakistan hockey team

August 24, 2023
Pakistan players celebrate after scoring a goal - AHF

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team head coach Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has said that weaknesses of senior hockey team players identified during the Asian Champions Trophy in India are being addressed in the training camp in Islamabad.

Talking to The News on Wednesday, the newly-appointed head coach said that the Asian Games 2023 in China next month is their prime focus because compared to the Olympic qualifying rounds in Lahore later this year, the Asian Games are an easy way.

"In the Olympics qualifying rounds in Lahore, some European teams will also participate. Thus, we are working hard keeping in mind to win the Asian Games in China, and I am confident that our boys have the skills. They are young and energetic. They need to work hard on their mistakes which they made," he said.

Pakistan hockey team’s training camp started in Islamabad two days ago where out of 36 boys 34 reported. Two players who did not join the training camp are stated to be injured.

"We have started working hard on the shortcomings identified during the Asian Champions Trophy, where Pakistan did not reach the victory stands," Shahnaz said.

Pakistan played six matches, won two, and ended 5th.

Shahnaz said that boys are getting training early in the morning where they attend two sessions, one for their physical training and the other for hockey training.

During the hockey training their ball handling is being improved, especially in the D area.

He further said that during the evening session different methods are applied to improve their overall performance.

Shahnaz said a group of five players of penalty corner drag flickers and a group of five goalkeepers have been established.

He said that Pakistan hockey team comprise young players.

"They are talented but lack international hockey experience due to which they committed mistakes," he said.

Shahnaz said after every two days players would do gymnasium exercises and swimming to maintain their fitness.

He further said addressing failure in goal scoring on PC is an important task.

"We cannot afford so many goal-less PCs in the Asian Games, and any other international hockey event. Thus, from throwing the ball on PC, taking the ball, stopping the ball and drag flicking the ball for scoring goals, all things are being practised in the training camp," he said.

He added that five different methods have been adopted for drag flicking the ball on PC.

Syed Intikhab Ali is a reporter for The News