LAHORE – Former Olympian Tahir Zaman, who is camp commandant of National U-16 hockey camp, said on Monday that five-a-side hockey was a new experience for home players and they were showing rapid progress in the fastest version of hockey being played on short playing field.

“It is going to be a good experience for our side to take part in the five-a-side Youth Cup in Singapore from April 4 to 7 and we are confident that we will be getting good results in the event,” Tahir told the reporters here after a training session of the second phase of the camp along with coach Rehan Butt.

He said this format of hockey, in which three halves of play would be played with each session of 12 minutes, the players required to achieve high-level stamina and mental toughness to cope with the pressure of high-pace game.

The first phase of training was held at Sialkot and 30 players attended it and for the second phase, 16 had been retained from which a final up of 10 players would be selected for the voyage of Singapore, the head coach said.

Tahir said they were confusing on improving the attaching and defensive skills of the players and this objective was being achieved through trial matches. “The practice matches are the best way to gage the individual talent of every player for picking up a talented combination. Through this format of the game, we will be able to groom quality players for our junior and senior hockey teams because they will be more agile and fit, both mentally and physically, to deliver to the best of their abilities,”

Coach Rehan Butt said they would be selecting the team on merit so that every deserving player might get his due place in the side. “It is thrilling version of high-paced hockey and only those players matching the highest standards of mental and physical fitness will be selected,” he concluded.