LAHORE – The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Friday announced the 18-member squad for the upcoming second Asian Hockey Champions Trophy to be held in Doha from December 20 to 27. The federation has remained stuck with the Champions Trophy bronze medal winners except M Rizwan junior and M Umar Bhutta.

PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said manager and chief coach of the team Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary, with the approval of PHF president Qasim Zia, named the squad. Bhutta and Rizwan Junior were replaced by M Irfan and M Salman while M Imran was retained as the captain of the team. “Rizwan is not medically fit and Bhutta is lacking necessary form. The replacements have been made to strengthen the Pakistan squad and we hope our players will deliver in the Asian Champions Trophy,” he added.

The six-nation event will be held from December 20 to 27 at the Al Rayyan Hockey Stadium in Doha, capital city of Qatar. In all, six teams including Pakistan, India, China, Oman, Japan and Malaysia will feature in the eight-day event and every featuring team will play a match against all the other participating teams.

The tournament will be inaugurated when China take on Oman on December 20 while on the same day, Pakistan will play their first match against Japan. The biggest match of the event between Pakistan and India will be played on December 21 and the organisers are hopeful for a houseful stadium for this match.

Pakistan will play against Malaysia on December 22 and against China after one-day rest before going for the last league match against Oman on December 26. The tournament will be concluded with the final match to be played between the top two teams of the event. Indian side will defend the title that they clinched last year by beating Pakistan in the final in China.  The players are directed to report to the camp commandant Akhtar at Johar Hockey Stadium on December 16 while the team will leave for Doha on December 18.

Squad: Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Syed Kashif Shah, M Imran (capt), M Rizwan Senior, M Tousiq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, M Waqas (vice-capt), Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Ali Shan, M Ateeq, Waseem Ahmed, M Kashif Ali, Shakeel Abbasi, M Irfan and M Salman Hussain.

Officials: Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary (manager/head coach), Abdul Haneef Khan, Ajmal Khan Lodhi, Ahmed Alam (coaches), Faizur Rahman (physiotherapist) and Nadeem Khan Lodhi (video-analyst).