Hockey league imperative to promote hockey, Team coaches

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LAHORE, Jan 23 (APP): Coaches of the national U18 hockey team, former olympians, Kamran Ashraf and Musdassar Ali Khan, firmly believe that Pakistan Hockey League will serve as an effective medium to supplement ongoing efforts for the revival and promotion of the game.
“PHL will be a step forward to develop the game at all levels and will help in identifying new hockey talent to provide a pool of players to widen and strengthen the base of the game”, they told APP here on Monday after a training session of the team for the build up of the next World Junior hockey Cup.
Both were of the view that Pakistan hockey badly needs holding of its own hockey league in order to improve the sagging fortune of the game.
They quoted the example of India in this regard and said “India has progressed to a unprecedented manner in hockey because of having its own league and got a productive result as its team won the World Junior Cup recently”.
They said PHF is striving for holding league at home in the larger interest of the game and that day is not far when hockey league will be organised in Pakistan.
“Unless our players don’t get the opportunity to play alongside foreign players they can not get the needed confidence and exposure and our league will be an ideal way to impart them necessary finer points of the game”, said Kamran and Mudassar. The duo of former Olympians while throwing light on the preparations of the Pak junior team for the next world cup said PHF has evolved a long term plan in this regard as the Cup is four years away and there is ample time to prepare for it.
“We have started preparations at the right time by engaging the players in camp training to start a process of induction and weeding out of players after judging their performance”, they said adding “We are trying to develop a new culture of physical fitness among the players and that is why we are laying emphasis on enhancing physical fitness through special fitness methods”.
“One of the reason that our players physical fitness is not up to the mark is when our players go to their homes they don’t do anything to keep themselves in prime fitness and when they are back to the camp training they lack required fitness level and again a lot of time is wasted to bring them to that needed fitness level”, they said.
They said that they have proposed to the PHF to lay off the players for a maximum time period of two weeks in order to ensure that they are in good physical trim when they rejoin the camp.
Kamran and Mudassar called for improving hockey structure in the country by equipping grounds with plastic surface and said availability of the ground with synthetic turfs will help the players to develop right playing techniques from the early age rather adopting wrong technique while playing at grass. They said the camp will continue till January 30 and then there will be a break after which the players will re-assemble again in Lahore.