Sohail Abbas keen to produce good results

Karachi: Pakistan`s penalty corner specialist, Sohail Abbas is keen to live up to the faith imposed on him by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), which has appointed him the captain of the national team for the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia and a tour to Europe.

"I am delighted to get the honour of leading Pakistan. Obviously, my aim is to get good results in the upcoming events so that I can continue (as the captain) for the Olympics as well," said Abbas.

The PHF and national selectors chose to ignore the rebel senior players, who had gone to India for the World Series Hockey (WSH), while announcing a new look squad for the two tournaments.

"Those players would be considered only for national selection once the disciplinary committee considers their cases and clears them," a PHF official said.

Seniors like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed and Imran Wasti, who can be considered for selection for the Olympics, had gone to play in the WSH, which is not recognised by the PHF or the FIH.

After returning home, the rebel players had appeared before the PHF disciplinary committee but the question still remains whether the the Federation would allow them to play for Pakistan again.

"Basically the PHF and its selectors will see how the results go in Malaysia and in Europe and then take a decision on whether these seniors are required for the Olympics," a former Olympian said.

The national team was selected after the trials in Islamabad and chief selector Hanif Khan said some players have also been included after their impressive performances in the Junior Asia Cup.

Abbas, who began his career in 1998, will be leading the national team for the first time in Azlan Shah Cup, to be held in Ipoh from May 24 to June 3.

Great Britain, New Zealand, Argentina, India, Malaysia, and Korea will also be participating in the seven-nation tournament.

Pakistan`s European tour will begin on June 8 during which they will be playing against teams like Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands.

The training camp for the Olympics will start on June 24 in Lahore.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Imran Butt and Imran Shah.

Defenders: Mohammad Irfan, Kashif Shah, Khalid Bhatti.

Midfielders: Sohail Abbas (captain), Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mehmood, Mohammad Tauseeq, Mohammad Rizwan Junior.

Forwards: Waqas Sharif (vice-captain), Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Rizwan Senior, Mohammad Zubair, Umer Bhutta, Shabbir Ahmed, Ali Shaan.


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