National hockey trials to start soon, 20 players to get central contracts

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Lahore

The trials to select 30 national hockey players, out of which 20 will get central contracts, start here in the first week of July, two key officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said at a press conference.

According to chief selector Manzoor Junior and head coach Khawaja Junaid said on their proposal PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar had decided to award the central contract to 20 players.

Giving the details, Manzoor said the 20 players would be divided into three categories — A, B and C. “And to assess their fitness level, a test would be held at the end of every month, in which every player’s participation would be mandatory,” he said.

A three-day fitness test would start on the last Friday of every month to continue till Sunday, Manzoor added.

The chief selector further said the players who did not appear for the fitness test during any month, they would not get the central contract for the next month.

“The players unable to appear [in any month] for the fitness test while featuring in a foreign league, will be eligible to get a place in the national team after showing fitness level at the national training camp,” Manzoor added.

Former Pakistan captain Manzoor said the decision would help to keep the players ready for international duty besides reducing their financial problems.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic situation [in Pakistan] has come under control leading to the resumption of sports activities, the PHF will restart its activities at full pace like the junior national camp which is starting in Lahore on Thursday,” he noted.

When asked if an incentive should not be given to the remaining 10 players as they would also be duty-bound to appear in the monthly fitness test to get a place in any of the three categories, and many of them may have to come from far flung areas of the country, the duo reckoned the remaining 10 players would create a competitive environment to get the contract.

Speaking on the occasion, Junaid said among the 20 contracted players, six each would be included in A and B categories while the remaining eight would feature in C category.

“Every player included in A, B and C category will receive Rs50,000, Rs40,000 and Rs30,000, respectively per month,” the head coach remarked, adding the move besides decreasing the players’ financial problems would keep them fit for professional duty.

“Next year’s Asia Cup will also serve as the qualifying round for the World Cup. Therefore, the central contract policy was adopted as one of the steps to prepare the players for international events.”

The head coach continued, “In order to get a place in the national team, every player competing in any league abroad has to attend the national camp, if he is not on the central contract list.”

He said every central contract player will have to appear in the monthly fitness test, otherwise, he would not get a place in the list of contractual players.—APP

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