LAHORE – Former Olympian M Akhlaq has said that the appointment of new hockey team head coach Akhtar Rasool is a good step taken by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for the promotion of the game across the country and the new coach will help the team to get better results.

Talking to this scribe, Akhlaq said: “Pakistan team has very short time to prepare themselves for London Olympics while the competition is very tough. The team is preparing well for London Olympics 2012 in the camp under the able guidance of head coach Akhtar Rasool. They have to face very tough teams during the mega event so there is no room for any experiment. The team which will play Azlan Shah Hockey Cup must be finalised for London Olympics.” Head coach Akhtar Rasool, manager Khawaja Junaid and assistant coach Ajmal Lodhi were experienced officials and they would guide the team very well and try their best in getting good results.

He further said that it was not an appropriate time to criticise the national team. “It is high team to encourage the national players and former Olympians should come forward to give their positive suggestions to them so that they may give better results and bring laurels to the country,” he added.

Talking about the decision taken by the PHF about the players who took part in the illegal hockey league, he said: “The PHF’s decision is appreciable and it has proved that there are no personal differences. The PHF Executive Committee will give final decision keeping in view the national interest.”

Talking about junior hockey team, he said: “The team management is working hard and we are hopeful the players will perform very well and will qualify for the Junior World Cup. The players have potential and through their performance, they not only earn good name for the country but also will get berth in the national team as well.”