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September 12, 2019

Will leave no stone unturned against Netherlands: Junaid


September 12, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan senior hockey team’s head coach Olympian Khawaja Junaid has said that despite being drawn against the Netherlands in the Olympic qualifiers, the Green-shirts will put in their best and leave no stone unturned in emerging victorious.

Pakistan will take on the Netherlands in Amsterdam on October 26 and 27. Junaid said that the Netherlands, ranked third in the FIH world rankings, have an edge against Pakistan, ranked 17th, but his side is capable of beating them in their own backyard. “They (Netherlands) are highly experienced compared to Pakistan since they have been playing international hockey regularly, Junaid said while talking to ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“Pakistan hockey has been facing different issues for quite some time which have led to major setbacks for our side. And of course, the Dutch will be playing in their own backyard which does give them an edge over us. But still, we are ready to fight and can spring a surprise,” he added.

He said that he has more than a month to prepare his side for the Tokyo qualifiers.“The Dutch have quality penalty corner specialists and we will have to work extra hard to stop them. We cannot afford to wilt under pressure and playing bravely is the only key to tackling them,” he said.

The head coach said that the first phase of Pakistan’s training camp which is underway in Lahore would end on September 18 and the second phase would have players who are currently featuring in foreign leagues. “The second phase will begin from September 25 and continue till our departure. The return of the players who are participating in foreign leagues will boost our preparation,” he added.

Junaid said that former captain and PC specialist Muhammad Imran would also assist them in the training. “His presence will be a huge morale-booster for our PC drag flickers. He will help in fine-tuning their skills,” he said. He didn’t reveal as to who among the three PC specialists, who are part of the camp, would be his first choice in the qualifiers.

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