Dhaka (Bangladesh), 20th September 2017: The Pakistan Hockey Team has not been able to perform up to expectations in the past few years, but with a recoup that took place after a 7th-placed finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London earlier this year, the record 4-time World Champions are ready to prove their mettle yet again as they go into next month’s Hero Asia Cup 2017.
The major changes that have taken place in the Pakistan Hockey Federation has been the appointment of Brig Khalid Khokhar as the President, and former hockey legend Shahbaz Ahmad as the Secretary General.
Even though Pakistan has already qualified for 2018 Hockey World Cup to be held in India by finishing 7th at the World League Semi-Final, PHF has brought in changes in the management and selection committee as well. The move from the board is promising as Head Coach Farhat Khan has also brought in the much-needed experienced players in the National Camp who were not selected for the tournament in London.
However, these changes in Pakistan hockey will only be termed successful if the team is able to perform well at the upcoming Hero Asia Cup 2017. Pakistan will go into the tournament as one of the favorites as they are also the second most crowned champions in Asia Cup history with three wins behind South Korea who have won the coveted tournament four times.
Speaking on his team’s prospects at Hero Asia Cup 2017, Pakistan’s Head Coach Farhat Khan said, “We have already qualified for next year’s World Cup in India, but our main focus will be on performing well in the Hero Asia Cup 2017. There is tough competition among the participating Asian teams with India being the strongest on paper with a world ranking of 6. But there are always teams who can spring a surprise as Malaysia showed by finishing 4th at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London. Therefore, it is important for us to keep focus on our game as we want to win the tournament.”
Farhat Khan also spoke on how the team performed at Men’s Asia Cup 2013. “The performance in last Asia Cup was not bad as we won all our three pool matches quite convincingly, however we lost to South Korea by a goal in the Semi-Final and eventually finished third by defeating hosts Malaysia. But we did not manage to achieve our target as we wanted to win the tournament,” said Farhat.
“We will need to make improvement in all areas of our game if we want to achieve our goal this time. We have faced a tough time in recent years as we failed to qualify for the last World Cup, and then 2016 Olympic Games, therefore we want to deliver our best starting from Hero Asia Cup 2017,” Farhat commented as he continues to train his team at camp ahead of Hero Asia Cup 2017.
Pakistan have been placed in Pool A alongside India, Japan and hosts Bangladesh. The team will play their opening match of Hero Asia Cup 2017 against the hosts on Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 in Dhaka while they play against Japan and India on 13th October, 2017 and 15th October, 2017 respectively.
Event fixtures: Hero Men’s Asia Cup 2017 – Match Schedule
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