Pakistan hockey team head coach Olympian Khawaja Junaid on Saturday said his players, despite not having featured in any international match during the past two years mainly due to Covid-19 pandemic, are eager to perform in the Asian Champions Trophy.
“We have been working hard at the training camp in Lahore since Nov 20 and the series against the national junior team also helped us note the weak areas of the [senior] team,” Junaid said after chief selector Manzoor Junior announced the 20-member squad to be led by Umar Bhutta for the continental event being held in Dhaka from Dec 14 to 22.
India, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia besides Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh will be featuring in the event.
“Teams of India and South Korea are strong. Therefore, beating them on the way to lifting the title for the fourth time will be a tough challenge for Pakistan, ’’ Junaid said.
Pakistan play their first match against Japan on Dec 14 and the second against Malaysia the next day. Their clash against arch-rivals India takes place on Dec 16. Pakistan then take on South Korea on Dec 18 and in their last match of the league stage face Bangladesh on Dec 19.
Goalkeepers: Waqar, Abdullah Ishtiaq
Fullbacks: Mubashir Ali, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Tazeem ul Hassan, Muhammad Abdullah, Aqeel AhmedHalfbacks: Abu Bakar Mahmood, Moin Shakeel, Hamad-ud-Din Anjum, Ghazanfar Ali, Azfar Yaqoob
Forwards: Mohammad Umar Bhatta, Ali Shan, Ejaz Ahmed, Rana Waheed, Junaid Manzoor, Afraz, Ahmed Nadeem, Mohammad Salman Razzaq
Officials: Khawaja Junaid (head coach); Syed Sameer Hussain, Ajmal Khan Lodhi (coaches); Nadeem Khan Lodhi (video analyst); Dr Syed Asad Abbas (team doctor).