Lahore - Pakistan national junior hockey team captain Umar Bhutta Wednesday termed the third Sultan of Johar Hockey Tournament a tough event and said other teams had edge of having senior players in their squads. 

Talking to the reporters on the eve of the departure of the team, the junior team captain said: “It is going to be a tough event for us as the other participating teams including Argentina, England, India, South Korea and hosts Malaysia will be going into the field with their senior players in their respective sides which will put extra pressure on us.”

Bhutta said the team was fully prepared to take on the challenge in a decent manner keeping in mind the might of their respective opponents. “We know that every participating team is well prepared and that is why we will be playing every match with precision and full force to get the desired results,” he said.

“Keeping in view our performance during the tour of Europe, I can say we are better prepared and are in a position to counter every opposition, irrespective of their superior standing in hockey world,” he added.

Bhutta said the players took the training camp very seriously and put in their best efforts to overcome their shortcomings. “During the training camp, we focused on improving attacking skills, being up the defence, penalty corner drills and enhancement of physical fitness,” he said and added: “The individual performance report of players shows that there is a visible improvement and its real test will be evaluated during the tournament.”

“The participation in the Johar Hockey Tournament will surely help us to prepare well for the next year’s World Cup. It will also help us in replacing players on some specialized positions besides judging the individual talent of players,” he said.

Bhutta welcomed the appointment of new coach Manzoorul Hasan and said he was confident that the former hockey Olympian would help in lifting the performance of the team with his expertise. “Manzoor is a respected and talented player of his time and under his able guidance, we can improve further,” he said.

To a query, he said: “The event will be played at green plastic surface while we have their training at blue synthetic turf. I think it is not going to be big problem for us and we will easily adjust with the colour of playing surface.”