Pakistan begins preparations for CWG Hockey – Sport

LAHORE (Reuters) – After failing to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, Pakistan’s senior hockey team began preparations on Tuesday for their next mission, the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

The players attended the first day of training camp here at the National Hockey Stadium No. 2.

The camp started with many changes in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) following Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the 2023 World Cup after finishing a poor fifth in the Asian Cup of this year held at the GBK Sports Complex in Jakarta in May-June. . The continental event featured teams from eight countries.

Head coach Manzoor Junior, after being given the new role of junior national team manager by the PHF in controversial circumstances, has left the federation in protest while former camp commander/manager Khawaja Junaid has resigned after the Asian Cup.

In Manzoor’s place, Olympian Kaleemullah, one of the selection committee members, was elevated to head coach while assistant coach Ajmal Lodhi was given the team leader designation.

Pakistan’s record in the Commonwealth Games hockey event is unimpressive.

After hockey was included in the games in 1998, Pakistan was able to win the bronze medal in 2002 in Manchester, followed by silver in the 2006 edition in Melbourne.

For this year’s edition featuring teams from 10 hockey nations, Pakistan are placed in Pool ‘A’ alongside Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Scotland. Group ‘B’ includes India, England, Canada, Wales and Ghana.


Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Dutch hockey coach Siegfried Aikman has joined the national training camp after missing the Abbottabad conditioning camp which ended before Eid-ul-Azha.

Aikman, who missed the Abbottabad camp due to visa issues, came to the country on a work visa.

Although Pakistan have shown some improvement under Aikman, they are yet to win a title.

The Asian Cup was Aikman’s first assignment although he joined the team in December 2021, just days before the Pakistani side left for Bangladesh to compete in the Asian Champions Trophy.

Earlier this year, under his leadership, Pakistan toured three European countries – Holland, Belgium and Spain. The green shirts drew 1-1 with the Netherlands and Spain in the two-Test series, while they lost the one-Test against world champions Belgium.

Now a big challenge awaits Aikman and his team in Birmingham where a strong looking Australia, who have superbly maintained their top spot in all six Commonwealth Games, will once again be a major obstacle for all participating teams as the England, New Zealand Zealand, India and Pakistan.

Posted in Dawn, July 13, 2022

Catherine J. Martinez