ISLAMABAD         -      Pledging to revive hockey glory, newly-appointed Pakistan team head coach Khawaja Junaid Friday said he would take along former Olympians to train national players for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.

Pakistan had produced several hockey greats who in their playing days were unmatchable in different fields of the game.  “It is the right time to avail their services to regain the lost status of the national game,” he told APP.

Junaid said the utilization of penalty corners in the game are the backbone of any team’s success and we need to work on it. “The PHF is working on to call former penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas in the player’s training camp to strengthen the boys with his experience in the field,” he said and added other former greats including Muhammad Imran and Ahmed Alam would also be called in to share their expertise with the players.

Junaid said they have a big name like Shahid Ali Khan in the field of goalkeeping and they would also be taking his assistance to train goalkeepers according to the modern hockey. “Though the road to 2020 Tokyo Olympics is tough, but we would give our best shot in the qualifiers to book a place in the mega event,” he said.

Junaid, who had won a bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics at Barcelona, said Pakistan need to set focus straight to excel in the national game internationally. Junaid, who had earlier also worked as head coach and was removed after Pakistan’s debacle in the World Hockey League in London in 2017, said until now they have not identified the grey areas which had led to the game’s downfall.

“If this goes on than the day is not far when lower ranking teams would pass us in the rankings,” he said and added currently Pakistan stands at World Ranking 17.  Junaid said Pakistan need to improve the game scientifically with data based analysis of players being done. “Time is less and we must hunt for those players who are mentally, physically and technically fit for the game of hockey,” he said.

He said tey have about a three-week time to prepare for the Olympic Qualifying round and in this short period they need to make players go through the evaluation and assessment process in order to pick the best possible team for the round.