Women team faces uphill task of qualifying for Asia Cup: Usman

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Lahore—Pakistan women hockey team coach,former Olympian ,Muhammad Usman believes that the new look team faces an uphill task to qualify for the Asia Cup when it plays in the qualifying round of the Cup from October 1 in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The task ahead of the team is not easy as it has been formed after a gap of three years and it is a new look team with eight new players who have never played an international match”, he told APP in an exclusive interview here on Thursday after a training session of the team preparing for the Cup at National hockey stadium.
Usman, a celebrated former Olympian who represented Pakistan team from 1989-2002, said the qualifying round is challenging for the Pak team which is without experience of any international match and is being trained at a camp which was established only a month ago.
“In the past efforts were not made to ensure the participation of the women team in any international event and the team is playing the qualifying round after three years which is a huge gap”,he said. Pakistan has been placed alongside Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and hosts Thailand in the group while Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Cambodia are in the other group.
Top two teams of the event will qualify for the Asia Cup to be played later this year. “Sincere efforts are being made to train the team to give its best in the event and expecting high performance from it will not be a fair assessment”, he said, adding,
“The credit of reviving women hockey team and to ensure its participation in the qualifying round goes to the present regime of Pakistan Hockey Federation which is laying special emphasis on the development of women hockey which was in doldrums during past many years”.
He appreciated PHF for extending all out cooperation and facilities to prepare the women team for the event.
Usman said the national women camp is being run in two daily sessions with morning session laying emphasis on physical fitness and short corner drills and in the afternoon session practice matches are being played between the team members and the camp probables
“We analyze the performance and shortcomings of players in daily post match session to help the players overcome their respective mistakes and perform better in next day match”, he said.
The team coach said building a team to produce desired results is not an overnight process and it takes years to groom a winning combination, adding that is why he has not pinned high hopes to his side when it appears in the Asia Cup.—APP