Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pakistan want more form FIH

PAKISTAN are peeved that the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) could only secure two spots from the Junior Asia Cup for the New Delhi World Cup next year.
Pakistan coach Rana Mujahid Ali now wants the AHF to make a strong appeal to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as he feels Asia warrants at least four spots, including of hosts India.
"I am very disappointed to hear that the FIH only gave Asia two spots for the World Cup. I would like to request that the AHF make a strong appeal and ask for three spots from the Junior Asia Cup, not including the automatic berth given to India as hosts.
"We have strong sides in Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan in the Junior Asia Cup (from May 3-13 in Malacca) and it is unfair to give Asia only two spots," said Rana.
The AHF have been bogged down by withdrawals as Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh snubbed the tournament and a redraw was sent to the FIH yesterday.
The new groupings have Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Iran in Group A, while in Group B are defending champions India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka.
"This is not good for hockey in this region, and I am surprised that Bangladesh pulled out as they have a strong side. This could further dampen our hopes of asking for more seats from the FIH," lamented Rana, who is a former Pakistan international himself.
On the team's preparations for the Asia Cup: "We came early for a series of friendlies with Malaysia and did not bring the best side as four of our players are in training with the senior side as earlier there were plans to play a Four-Nation in Pakistan.
"However after Malaysia and India pulled out of the Four-Nation it was cancelled, and I will have my best side for the Malacca tournament," said Rana.
The four have experience in playing at the Champions Trophy at the end of lasy year, and their presence will sterengthen Pakistan's bid to make the final of the Junior Asia Cup.
The four Pakistan stalwarts are Syed Kashif Shah (19), Muhammad Tousiq (17), Ali Shan (19) and Muhammad Rizwan (18) -- and they have the experience of playing in the 2011 Champions Trophy in Auckland, New Zealand on Dec 3-11.
Meanwhile, Malaysia lost their second friendly against Pakistan 4-3 yesterday. In the first friendly on Friday, Malaysia lost by a 5-3 margin.
"I have a big pool of players and used all of them for both the matches as the friendlies also double up as selection for Malacca.
"I'm not too worried with the score, as I am more interested in giving everyone a chance to fight for their spot in the Junior Asia Cup," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.