Coach happy with the AstroTurf in Karachi
KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team head coach and manager Shahnaz Sheikh has said that training in Karachi was better for the players as the AstroTurf at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium is in excellent condition but the same cannot be said for the AstroTurf at the Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium, where they were previously training.
The Pakistan national hockey team trained for five months for the Asian Games at the Naseer Bunda, located in the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad and Sheikh said that while it has no equal in terms of facilities, the team was forced to move due to its substandard playing surface.
“The Naseer Bunda has no comparison when it comes to facilities but the condition of the AstroTurf forced the federation to shift the training camp to the Hockey Club of Pakistan in Karachi,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “The surface in Karachi is in excellent condition, while we had an alternate blue AstroTurf at the Olympian Islahuddin Academy but the hockey club lacks the basic facilities a player requires.”
Sheikh, however, added that he has requested Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also the patron of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, to direct the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to renovate the Naseer Bunda.
He further added that another reason for organising the camp in Karachi was to redevelop interest in hockey in the youth of Karachi as only 44 players appeared for the open trials for the national team selection.
But despite the poor turnout in the trials, the camp in Karachi has been beneficial for the players and the federation alike as the PHF has received financial grants to revive the national sport. “We are obliged to everyone who supported us for the survival of hockey in Pakistan but still we seek the government’s support,” said Sheikh. “It would go a long way in helping motivate the players and perform well for the country.”