Pakistan looking to earn a top position in the FIH Champions Trophy
Riding with high hopes, Pakistan is looking to bring out fruitful results in their first appearance in the forthcoming Champions Trophy since 2007, to be held from December 3 to 11, in Auckland, New Zealand.
The officials in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) believe that the Green-shirts will be no pushovers in the prestigious tournament.
The Green-shirts have less than slight chances to win a medal in the tournament. On the other hand, Australia being number-one is most favourite contender for the title. Apart from Australia, Germany and the Netherlands are too strong contestants for the
PHF Secretary, Asif Bajwa, said that it will be a great test for the Green-shirts to showcase their talent against the world’s best teams.
He, however, clarified that the team made concrete preparations for the mega tournament. The Secretary hoped that the squad will go all out for a place among the top four teams.
He observed, “We are certainly hopeful that our team will finish among the top-four in Auckland. “It’s really important for us to do that because such a performance will establish Pakistan as one of the contenders at next year’s Olympic Games”.
He opined that the Champions Trophy will help the Green-shirts in making preparations for the London Gala. He anticipated that the fixtures against world’s best teams will improve its performance-level for the 2012 Olympic Games.
He further informed that they are working to organise a warm-up game against South Korea or the Netherlands ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Pakistan’s national coach, Shahid Ali Khan, shared his views saying that the team has capability to achieve its aims. In his view, the Green-shirt can outplay Spain and Great Britain in the league games.
It is worth highlighting here that Shahid Ali Khan was part of the team that clinched the gold medal in the 1982 World Cup.
He underscored, “The fact that we have even beaten Australia in their own backyard is another reason why our boys are going to New Zealand brimming with confidence”.
It is pertaining to mention here that the Green-shirts rallied past Australia in the recently concluded Tri-Nation series held, in Perth, Australia.
Pakistan is clubbed alongside Spain, Great Britain and Australia in Pool-A while Pool-B is comprised of Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands and the host, New Zealand.
Pakistan will take Great Britain in the maiden fixture of the Champions Trophy after facing Germany in a friendly match.
Pakistan earned its last gold medal out of total three it won thus far, back in 1994. In all, a bronze was their last medal in the tournament they won in 2004 Champions Trophy, held in Lahore, Pakistan.
The Greenshirts will have a great opportunity to prove its wildcard entry in the 2011 Champions Trophy that will also determine their position for the London Olympics.