Dubai: Sardar takes time off for UAE hockey |
June 23, 2003
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"Hockey in schools should be encouraged," remarked Pakistani hockey legend Hassan Sardar to Gulf News.
Sardar took time off during a brief stopover in Dubai to witness a UAE junior hockey team between the age of 10 to 15 play against the Dubal team at the Dubal hockey ground on Thursday night.
"I am greatly impressed by the enthusiasm of these young players. They are talented and if they have to make it to the top they need to play two to three years of disciplined hockey," said Sardar, who has scored 150 goals from 148 international matches for Pakistan.
Sardar mixed freely with the boys and even played for a short while with them.
"One of the reasons behind Pakistan's fame in international hockey is the encouragement given to schools hockey. Young players need exposure and experience to make it to the top," reminded Sardar, who was known for his ability to dribble through the toughest of defences.
Sardar assured his support to the junior players who are planning to tour Pakistan in August.
"I will provide all facilities to the young boys and even arrange some good matches for them against school teams as well as teams of their age group in Pakistan. I am sure the tour will be an invaluable experience for the boys," he said.
"I am one who believes that experience helps one to improve fast and so the players need to play against different teams under different conditions," pointed out Sardar.
"Playing in countries like Pakistan will help UAE juniors immensely. The juniors should also play against strong local teams here. More the teams in UAE, the better will be the competition," he added.
Sardar, who is also the selector of the Pakistan team talked about Pakistan hockey. "The present Pakistan team is a young side and they need more experience. We lost recently mainly due to the absence of our key players like Sohail Abbas and Nadeem. I am sure we will do well in the future," he said.
Sardar also had discussions with Gehard Rach, the German hockey team coach who has been conducting a junior camp in Al Ain.
"It was a pleasure to meet Sardar and talk about the game. We discussed some important points. The boys here are skilful and signs of improvement are visible on the boys who attended the Al Ain camp. It's really encouraging to see some young nationals showing interest in the game," remarked Rach.
"One needs to play more matches on turf surfaces if one is to become an international player," added Rach.
"Sardar's presence was a big boost for the boys. His willingness to come and watch the boys even during a short stop over shows his love for the game and his readiness to encourage hockey in UAE. We look forward to more guidance from him," said Raza Abidi, the co-oridnator of the UAE HC.
Sardar also had discussions with Jaffar Hussain, one of the UAE's senior hockey players and referees, Mohammed Manji, the technical advisor of UAE HC, and Lynne Bengston an Australian coach, who has been spotting young talent in UAE and training it.
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