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Pakistan hockey team could travel to Netherlands for training ahead of Nations Cup


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Pakistan hockey team. – PHF

ISLAMABAD: Roelant Oltmans is interested in holding a ten-day training camp for the Pakistan hockey team in the Netherlands during the second half of May in order to fine tune preparations for the Nations Cup starting in the city of Gniezno, Poland, from May 31.

In a media talk on Tuesday, Pakistan team head coach said that the Nations Cup has great importance for Pakistan hockey.

“Winning the Nations Cup is all the more important from Pakistan’s perspective as the title will take the team into the FIH Pro League next season. I have proposed a ten-day training camp in Holland ahead of the Nations Cup to acclimatize well for the event.”

Oltmans also shared the outcome of his talks with Dutch Hockey, revealing that the team has agreed to play against Pakistan in a one-off Test during a training session in the Netherlands.

“It is a good development. I am trying to get more matches but at the moment one Test against the Dutch national team has been finalised.”

Oltmans termed France as the main challenge to Pakistan in a quest to win the Cup.

“Besides other teams that will also include five from Azlan Shah Cup, France is expected to pose the main threat to the Pakistan team mainly because they are preparing for the Olympics and have improved leaps and bounds in recent times as a team.”

Following the team’s arrival from Azlan Shah event, a short training camp will be established in Islamabad before the team’s departure for the Netherlands. The second phase of the camp is planned from May 15 till the departure of the team.

Besides Pakistan some of the best teams in the world including hosts Poland, Korea, Malaysia, France, South Africa, Pakistan, Canada, Austria, and New Zealand — as the team relegated from the 2022-23 FIH Hockey Pro League season.

“I am sure that had I continued from the junior string to the senior team months before the Olympics, we would have made it to the Olympics. There was a good chance of making it to the Olympics following Pakistan juniors splendid performance in the Junior World Cup where the team finished among the top teams.

“For the first time in many years we have made it to the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup and could have made it to the Olympics had we continued training the same. Now the biggest challenge we are facing is the Nations Cup. There we have to perform well and go on to win the event in order to qualify for the FIH Pro League. Once we enter the Pro League, revival is imminent.”

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News

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