LAHORE  -   Newly-appointed coach of Pakistan hockey team Thursday said that participation of national players in the FIH Pro Hockey League will be a big way of learning and it will also provide them much-needed international exposure.

“Young players need to improve their game which is only possible if they get maximum opportunities to play against world top notch hockey players and pro league will provide them an ideal chance to face off with different hockey nations,” he said here after supervising the afternoon session of the national camp set up for the buildup of Pakistan team for Pro league being played in different countries later this month.

The former hockey Olympian was of the view that Pakistan team needs to change its style of play, switching to attacking game from its usual defensive approach during run of play. “Players have to drop this tendency (defensive approach) which has damaged Pakistan hockey in recent years and it is one of the main key reasons of downfall of our national sport,” said Saeed.

The team coach and manager said that in the ongoing camp, efforts are being made to change the mindset and approach of players and helping them to adopt fast track of game. “Attacking hockey helps in mounting pressure on opponents, creates ample opportunities of goal scoring and that is the reason why other hockey nations have progressed a lot in international hockey in last one decade, whereas we have a nose dive trend and stand nowhere at world ranking which indicates that we are a weak side at world level.”

He said another reason which contributed to the overall decline of the hockey was suspension of international hockey at Pakistani soil in the last one decade. “If foreign teams are not visiting the country on regular basis, how come our players will be lifting the level of their game as arranging foreign tours on regular intervals is quite an expensive venture,” said the team official.

To a query, he said that the team management has no such information that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided not to participate in the Pro League owing to paucity of funds. “I am optimistic that the PHF will arrange necessary funds to ensure Pakistan’s participation in the league to revive the sagging fortune of the hockey.

“Due to the same scenario, question mark was posed on participation of Pakistan team in international events in the recent past and eventually, the PHF was able to get the funds to send its team abroad and hopefully this time, it will also secure funds for ensuring team’s participation in pro league,” he added.