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August 16, 2018
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Pakistan to play practice match against Japan today

Sports

August 16, 2018

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KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team will play its first practice match ahead of Asian Games against Japan in Jakarta on Thursday (today).

The Green-shirts were sent to the host country a week before the tournament so that they could adjust to weather conditions.

Pakistan will play the second practice match against Oman on Friday (tomorrow). Pakistan seek direct qualification for the 2020 Olympics by winning the hockey title in the Asian Games.

A team official told ‘The News’ from Jakarta that the two practice matches, especially the one against Japan, would give the players crucial experience. Pakistan are in a relatively easier pool with Malaysia being the only tough opponent. The other teams are Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong China. Thus, qualifying for the semi-final would not be a difficult task for the Green-shirts, experts said.

They added that Pakistan would have to give their best in the knockout round. The other teams likely to reach semi-finals are India, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.

Pakistan team management is busy in training sessions in Jakarta, giving final touches to the preparation of the forwards and PC drag flickers whose weaknesses have cost Pakistan dearly in the recent past.

Team manager Hasan Sardar and assistant coach Rehan Butt have been preparing the forwards to ensure that they score goals whenever they find gaps. “We want to use all the players who are our first choice. But we also want to use those players who will get few chances in the event. To keep them fit and in form, we need to play them in these two practice matches, so that in case of any requirement, they are in full rhythm,” said the team official.

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