|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
|August 24, 2000||
Pakistan face uphill task
Pakistan's bid to return to what they feel is their rightful place at the top of world hockey begins at next month's Summer Olympics, but the team's manager admitted on Thursday the road back would be difficult.
"The competition is very tough," said Islahuddin Siddiqui. "We are in with Germany and Holland and Great Britain."
Holland took the gold four years ago in Atlanta and Germany won in 1992 in Barcelona, while Pakistan, who used to compete with arch-rivals India for Olympic glory, have slipped badly since their last gold in Los Angeles in 1984.
They finished fifth in 1998, took a bronze in 1992 and ended up sixth in Atlanta, their worst-ever placing for the team.
Pakistan missed the elite annual Champions Trophy for the first time this year and were forced to qualify for the Olympics, which they also won in 1960 and 1968.
Siddiqui, who has kept only three players from the Atlanta squad, brought his team to Australia early to get them used to the artificial turf.
"This is an important training period for us," said Siddiqui, who won a silver medal in Munich in 1972 and a bronze in Montreal four years later.
"It is important we get into the semifinals and the boys are capable of that," he said.
To do that, Pakistan will probably have to beat Germany or Holland and not lose to the other teams in the pool, Great Britain, Canada and Malaysia.
Pakistan is led by penalty-corner ace Sohail Abbas, who has scored 62 goals in the last year.
"He's the leading scorer in every match, but we are not going to depend on only one player. We have more depth, more players than that," Siddiqui said.
After drawing a three-match series with Australia after arriving in early August, Pakistan leave on Friday for two weeks of training and matches in New Zealand.
They return on September 4 for more training before Pakistan's first game, against Canada, on September 16.
The gold medal clash is September 30, a day before the Games end.
Related story: India looking for lost lustre
Mail Sports Editor
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK