LAHORE - National junior hockey team coach Olympian M Saqlain has said that the training camp would help produce talented players to fill the void in the national team and broaden the base of players.

The former Pakistan captain said that the best available talent had been picked from across the country after countrywide three-day trials and through this useful practice 58 players have been shortlisted to undergo camp training, which will commence from Wednesday here at the Johar Hockey Stadium. "It is the only way to groom aspiring players and to create a large pool of players who will be trained on specialised positions to from the Pakistan national junior team and subsequently winning a place in the national senior team," said the former Olympian.

Saqlain said being a coach of junior team, he would rise to the occasion and do his best to the come up to expectations of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) by utilising his years’ long experience and standing in the game by transforming the latest coaching knowledge to the players to make them refined players.  "The job assigned to me is challenging as hockey is on a constant downfall in the country and the present hockey scenario widely suggests that Pakistan senior and junior teams are without such star players who have worldwide acknowledgment in the game because of their extra ordinary hokey talent," he said.

The coach said that the camp would be run in two daily sessions and the players would be going through physical training, basic hockey drills, team training and penalty corner conversions in the morning session. "We will be laying special emphasis on match practice and improvement of individual skills and techniques of the players in the afternoon session," he added.

He expressed the optimism that out of the 58 players, the camp management will be able to discover atleast seven players who have the natural talent to gain excellence in the game provided they are trained under a long-term plan.

Saqlain said that the PHF was working on different strategies to lift the game out of present gloom and years’ long sincere efforts are needed to regain the lost glory.

 "There is no short-cut to the success and we have to be patient and need to contribute solid efforts to overcome gray areas of our hockey which primarily are lack of physical fitness and personal interest of players to excel in the game.

“The other hockey nations are far ahead in hockey because they strengthened their domestic hockey structure by introducing reforms whereas we still lack in it," he said adding "Another factor of progress of other nations in hockey is their own hockey leagues which helped their players to better the level of their game," he asserted.

"Our hockey is without a league, there is no international hockey in our country, our players do not get much needed international experience and exposure and in these circumstances how could we reach to peak," he questioned.