The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) named 16-member hockey squad which will compete in the 29th Olympic Games Hockey Tournament in Beijing, China.
After a single day trials wherein 30 players had appeared, the National Selection Committee headed by President Pakistan Hockey Federation Mir Zafarullah Jamali, Chairman Islahuddin Siddiqui, member Syed Muddasar Asghar, Secretary General PHF Asif Bajwa and Manager/ Chief Coach Khwaja Zakauddin decided to select an Olympic outfit having both experience and youth. Defender Zeeshan Ashraf will be the captain while his co-defender Muhammad Imran is to be his deputy.
After missing two Olympics 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens, midfielder Muhammad Saqlain will hold the center position while the experienced strikers Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi will play the vital role in the attacking line-up. The selectors have also brought back midfielder Adnan Maqsood whose last appearance for the national team was in 2007 Champions Trophy at KualaLumper, Malaysia. In addition to that the selectors gave nod to experienced penalty corner striker Imran Warsi who had played last in 2007 Asia Cup. Midfielder Rana Asif also returns to the squad after participating in 2007 Asia Cup.
Chief Coach Zakauddin was satisfied with the selection and strongly believes that Pakistan is capable of reaching the last four.
“I believe that with this mixture of experienced and youth,” he told media after the selection, “the team has the capability of making positive results. But that depends on that particular day how you play and how your opponents perform.”
However, Zaka said that he has full faith in his team and in spite of the fact that it would be very tough in Beijing yet “I remain optimist.”
Goalkeepers: Salman Akbar, Nasir Ahmed.
Defenders: Zeeshan Ashraf (Captain), Muhammad Imran (Vice-Captain), Imran Warsi.
Midfield: Muhammad Javed, Muhammad Saqlain, Adnan Maqsood, Rana Asif.
Forwards: Waqas Sharif, Waqas Akbar, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abbas Haider, Muhammad Zubair, Shafqat Rasool.
Reserve Players: Muhammad Attiq, Muhammad Shabbir
Muhammad Attiq, Muhammad Irfan, Farid Ahmed, Saeed Shah, Abdul Haseem Khan, Shabbir Ahmed, Kamran Ahmed, Muhammad Amin.