CARDIFF, Wales: As Pakistan’s cricket group continued to punch above its weight within the ICC Champion Trophy on Wednesday, the nation’s hockey gamers have been hoping to comply with go well with forward of what’s their most essential task of the yr, writes Khalid Hussain.
Getting underway right here on the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from Thursday (at this time), the FIH Hockey World League Semifinal spherical is an occasion the place Pakistan are determined to make their presence felt.
The competition additionally serves because the qualifying spherical for World Cup 2018 which is why it’s doubly essential for Pakistan to provide their greatest in it.
They open their marketing campaign with a troublesome recreation towards the Netherlands on Thursday (at present). The Dutch have probably the greatest groups on the planet but when Pakistan are intimidated they re hiding it properly.
“It’s good that we’re enjoying towards one of many world’s greatest groups in our opening match,” Pakistan coach Khawaja Junaid advised ‘The Information’ from London on Wednesday.
“It’s all the time good to play towards the highest aspect firstly of the event as a result of such a recreation underlines your strengths and weaknesses as a workforce,” stated Junaid, a former Olympian.
Whereas not many are prepared to provide Pakistan an opportunity, Junaid stated that his younger group has the potential to shock even a top quality opposition just like the Netherlands.
“We’ve a younger workforce and the boys are itching to go on the market and provides the Dutch a run for his or her cash,” he stated.
“We’ve got performed a collection of matches in Australia and Holland in current weeks and that has given our gamers expertise and confidence.”
Pakistan are hoping that their younger brief nook specialist Abu Bakr will emerge as a shock weapon within the event.
“He is an effective penalty nook striker and we hope that he’ll do nicely within the event.”
Pakistan even have the likes of Aleem Bilal, Umar Bhutta and Ali Shan who, based on Junaid ought to shine within the event.
Pakistan did not qualify for World Cup 2014 and in addition missed the reduce for the Rio Olympics final yr.
The Pakistanis are that includes within the first of the 2 2017 HWL Semi-Finals in London, from June 15-25. The opposite Semi-Last shall be performed in Johannesburg, South Africa, from July 9-23.
Pool A: Argentina, England, South Korea, Malaysia and China.
Pool B: Netherlands, India, Canada, Pakistan and Scotland.
Pakistan’s Pool Matches: vs Netherlands (June 15), vs Canada (June sixteen), vs India (June 18), vs Scotland (June 19).
Quarter-Finals and ninth/tenth place match: June 22.
Semi-Finals and matches for fifth-eighth place: June 24.
Last and third/4th, fifth/sixth & seventh/eighth place matches: June 25.
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