ISLAMABAD: Former ace goal-keeper Mansoor Ahmed believes the Champions Trophy is a very important tournament for Pakistan to retain its lost glory in the game after the first-time World Cup ouster saying the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) should make firm preparations of the team for the mega event.
The Champions Trophy will be staged in Bhubaneswar, India from December 6 to 14. The tournament will showcase the finest international teams in the men’s game competing to claim the trophy. Pakistan had earned their place at the 2014 competition through their third place result in the 2012 tournament in Melbourne.
Pool A consists of 2014 World Cup and defending champions Australia; Commonwealth Games bronze medalists England; Euro nations silver medalists Belgiumand current Asian Games champions Pakistan. , In Pool B, hosts India, World Cup 2014 bronze medalists Argentina; World Cup 2014 runners-up Netherlands and 2012 Olympic gold medalists Germany will lock horns.
Talking to APP, Mansoor Ahmed said the green-shirts remain the only Asian team to win the competition three times in 1978, 1980 and 1994. “Whole the nation’s eyes will be set on Pakistan after the team was unable to qualify for the World Cup earlier this year for the first time in history,” he said.
“It is a very good chance for the team to make a strong comeback in the game and regain their lost prestige,” he said adding a lot of hard work and strong mind set is needed to win the event as a lot of competition will be seen there.
Mansoor said Pakistan team will have a lot of crowd and media support in India where the mega event is being hosted.
“This way the morale and confidence level of the players will also be boosted,” he said.
The former goal-keeper said the performance of the Asian Games will also matter a lot to finalize the team for the Champions Trophy.
“If we perform well in the Games then the same combination should be taken in the Trophy but if we don’t do well then an operation clean-up needs to be done,” he said.