LAHORE – Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary M Asif Bajwa on Tuesday said that Pakistan team’s performance in the Europe tour was not satisfactory and there is dire need of working on defence to stop conceding goals on penalty corners.
Talking to the reporters here on Tuesday after his return from Europe where he witnessed all the matches, Bajwa said: “The performance of our team was not satisfactory in the Europe tour where we conceded a dozen of goals off the short corners which is an alarming sign and we must address to this issue if we want to achieve good results in the London Olympics 2012.”
Pakistan lost to Belgium 6-1 in the opener and beat Germany 4-3 in the second match, then were beaten 2-0 by Germany in third match and managed a 3-3 draw against Holland in the last match of the tour. Belgium scored four goals off the short corners, Germany struck five goals in two matches and Holland hammered three goals to highlight flaws in the poor planning of the defenders and goalkeeper Imran Shah.
“There is a dire need of re-structuring the team’s entire defence while defending a penalty corner and special drills are needed to stop conceding that high number of goals off the short corners,” he added.
He urged the team management to look into this aspect and must come up with a solution to beef up the defence to deny space to then opponents during penalty corner drills. “The team is in final phase of its training for Olympics and it must lift the level of its performance before its participation in Olympics, during the last leg of training at home at a training camp to be established at Abbottabad from June 26,” he said and added: “We are aiming high to bring improvement to field a balanced team in Olympics to put up a good show.”
To a query, Bajwa replied: “The fitness level of layers is at top as they played two back-to-back events - Azlan Shah and Europe tour - as the team played four matches in five days with 12 players as Fareed got injured in the first match and three senior players could not accompany the team after not getting visas.”
To another query, he said: “They will be receiving the recommendations of the management of the back up camp in a couple of days to know the exact fitness level of the players including Rehan Butt.”
“The final trials for the selection of the teams for Olympics will be held in first week of July and then 16-member squad and two reserve players will be named,” he concluded.