KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team’s head coach Siegfried Aikman reached Pakistan and joined the training camp of Green shirts at Abdul Sattar Hockey Stadium Saturday morning.
During the evening session of training he told The News that Pakistan hockey team comprises young boys, who are energetic, talented and improving day by day. The players would perform well in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament in Malaysia next month, he said.
It has to be mentioned that nine experienced players have not joined the training camp and preferred professional hockey league in England.
Aikman avoided commenting on the decision of these players but said that some senior players who did not join the training camp and preferred hockey league would be on the losing side for not representing Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan hockey team played well against some strong teams in Commonwealth Games and Asia Cup, including India, South Africa, and Canada. The Green shirts did not go under pressure against them and managed to draw against them in the last moments. This showed that they have fighting spirit and did not lose the hope till last moment, he added. They have the ability to recover in the match after conceding goals. It is a good sign for an emerging team which is passing through its development period, Aikman said.
“In the Commonwealth Games against Australia, we lost 7-0, which was a big margin but Australia was number one ranked team in the world hockey ranking. India also lost against Australia by 7-0, while India was a much stronger team,” the coach said.
He added that Pakistan was successful in getting a number of penalty corners against Australia but did not convert them into goals due to Australia’s strong marking and good goalkeeping. “But our forwards were successful in attacking the Australian goalpost a number of times but unfortunately due to inexperience we failed to score goals. These sort of performances against strong team who are better ranked proves that Greenshirts are learning fast. They need maximum exposure of international hockey matches,” he said.
He was optimistic that Green shirts would play well in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Malaysia, and give tough time to each participating team. “Asian Games 2023 is our prime focus,” he said.