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Friday April 19, 2024

Dutch club captain impressed with Pak talent

He praised HEC captain Ali Raza who he believed is one for the future

By Abdul Mohi Shah
February 26, 2024
Ruben Katrier, the visiting Dutch club Bully Men I captain can be seen in this image. — Facebook/Muhammad Yousaf Anjum
Ruben Katrier, the visiting Dutch club Bully Men I captain can be seen in this image. — Facebook/Muhammad Yousaf Anjum

ISLAMABAD: Ruben Katrier, the visiting Dutch club Bully Men I captain, hailed the traditional style of Pakistan hockey saying that even club players here know the art of stick work like any of the top-level international players.

In an interview with The News, Ruben said he was highly impressed with the standard at the club level. “When it comes to game knowledge and talent, I still believe that Pakistan club players are second to none. I am surprised to see how good their control of the ball is.

I had never visited Pakistan before. This is my first visit and after watching these up-and-coming players in action I can easily say that they are second to none when it comes to talent at this level and age. What they require is hard work, proper coaching, and more exposure to hone their skills.”

He praised HEC captain Ali Raza who he believed is one for the future. “He showed his class during all three matches. He is the one who can easily make it to any team in days to come.

Some others can also be rated as future national, even international, stars.” Ruben was surprised at the little exposure top players get in Pakistan. “Look playing hockey is a full-time job where you need match after match playing against the best club teams to make yourself ready for international hockey.

Hockey is not a game where off-and-on practice is enough. Considering the growing tough competition at the international level, you need to stay in practice throughout the year. That is how we train and make ourselves available for domestic and international hockey.”

When asked how many clubs stay active throughout the year, he said hockey is one of the most popular sports in Holland.

“We have around 250 clubs which stay active by playing at different levels throughout the year. These clubs keep themselves busy and active. That is the reason why we have such a strong hockey base in Holland.”

Ruben said that finding sponsorship for hockey is not all that difficult. “Even players also contribute when it comes to making efforts for the up-gradation of club or team members. Each player visiting here on a trip to Pakistan has contributed 50 percent of airfare from their pocket while the rest of fifty percent came from sponsorship. The host nation in Pakistan took care of our boarding and lodging.”

The Dutch Club captain hoped to see Pakistan back as one of the leading teams in the world. “Pakistan has a rich hockey history. Even today, talent is in abundance in the country where youngsters know how to play the game. There is no doubt that in years to come, Pakistan will regain its status as one of the best sides in the world.”