Pakistan: Pakistan squad announced for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

35658 862964 updates - Pakistan: Pakistan squad announced for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup - ISLAMABAD: Ammad Shakeel Butt was named captain of the 18-member Pakistan outfit for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup starting in Ipoh, Malaysia, from May 4.
Ammad Butt celebrates with Abdul Hanan during a match. – FIH

ISLAMABAD: Ammad Shakeel Butt was named captain of the 18-member Pakistan outfit for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup starting in Ipoh, Malaysia, from May 4.

The three-member selection panel consisting Head Coach Roelant Oltmans, Manzoorul Hasan and Shahid Islam (DDG Pakistan Sports Board) watched 44 shortlisted players in action over four sessions of the trials at the Bunda Ground on Sunday before naming the final touring squad plus seven reserves for the annual tournament.

“This is the best available pool of players, selected based on their performance in the trials. There was some discussion on a few players, ultimately panel agreeing on the team which could be termed the best of the available lot,” Oltmans told media while announcing the touring squad.

Five players from Karachi camp also made it to the touring squad. These include Abdullah, Mohammad Abdullah, Ehtisham Aslam, Murtaza Yaqoob, and Arshad Liaquat. These five players arrived from Karachi on Saturday to participate in the trials.

“We will try to make the best of the available team. It would have been far better if all these selected players trained together at the outset of the camp at the Bunda Ground,” Oltmans said.

A good debate took place on the selection of Ehtisham Aslam, Aqeel Ahmed, and Hammad Anjum. Ehtisham made it to the team based on his performance in the last session of trials where he gave a good account of himself while the two were included in the reserves.

“The seven reserves will be available for the selection for the Nations Cup starting in Poland from May 31. All those performing not up to the mark in Malaysia will be replaced with the reserves for the Nations Cup. That tournament is all the more important for Pakistan because it would be a qualification event. The winner of the Nations Cup will make it to the FIH Pro League next season. Winning that event would mean getting back into the top brand of hockey,” Oltmans added.

On the Pakistan team’s expected performance in the forthcoming Azlan Shah Cup, he said winning the event and every match has always been his top priority.

“I would not make tall claims mainly because of our team’s problems back home. As a team, these players have yet to start their training. We will not have enough time to play a warm-up match in Malaysia as we are to arrive only a day ahead of the first match against Malaysia. Yet, I feel that our players are mature and talented enough to produce a solid performance in the event. The team is a blend of youth and experience with some talented players from the Junior World Cup also there.”

Oltmans stressed that players missing the cut to work harder. “They will make it to the national team in days to come. Now our main focus is to win a spot on the next Olympics as well as to play all other major hockey events from here on.”

The selected team will bear the signature of Tariq Bugti as the president PHF after being allowed by all the concerned including the government of Pakistan, PSB, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and FIH.

Pakistan squad

Goalkeepers: Abdullah, Muneebur Rehman.

Defenders: Usama Bashir, Ehtisham Aslam, Mohammad Abdullah, Sufiyan, Abu Bakar (vice-captain), Ammad Butt (captain).

Midfielders: Salman Razzaq, Arshad Liaquat, Moin Shakeel, Zakria Hayat, Murtaza Yaqoob, Ghazanfar Ali.

Forwards: Abdul Rehman (Sr), Abdul Hanan, Rana Waheed, Ejaz Ahmad.

Standbys: Akmal Hussain, Aqeel Ahmad, Arbaz, Hammad Anjum, Abdul Rehman (Jr), Abdul Manan, Rooman.

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

SanFair Newsletter

The latest on what’s moving world – delivered straight to your inbox
Verified by MonsterInsights