Pakistan start preparations for Azlan Shah Cup
LAHORE: Five probables out of the 25 called up for the training camp of the Pakistan hockey team for the Azlan Shan Cup were absent as it started at the Johar Town Hockey Stadium here on Monday.
Head coach Akhtar Rasool told Dawn that Rizwan Senior and Rashid Mahmood did not inform the team management that they would not be able to attend the camp on Monday.
“They should’ve informed us about their availability or non-availability for the camp. If they were going away to feature in a league, they should’ve told us before the camp started,” Akhtar said.
On the other three absentees, Akhtar said: “Shakeel Abbasi is injured but would join the camp on Tuesday along with fellow stalwart Waseem Ahmed while Fareed Ahmed is down with fever.”
The former Olympian informed that the camp would be shifted from Johar Town to National Hockey Stadium, which now sports a blue turf, on Tuesday.
Akhtar said Pakistan’s recent performances which included victory at the Asian Champions Trophy and a third-placed finish at the FIH Champions Trophy has raised the morale of the team ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup which starts from March 9.
“The winning graph has gone up and we’d like to continue the winning spree at the Azlan Shah Cup,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain said the team was working at overcoming their deficiencies for the tournament in Malaysia.
“Our focus is to improve our defence and our short-corner conversion because all the top teams are taking part in the event,” Mohammad Imran said.