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Germany to field second-string team
August 08, 2003 17:28 IST
Theáprestigious Champions Trophy may lose some of the sheen due to Germany's decision to field a second-string team, but hockey officials at New Delhi said it could help India's chances in theátournament starting next week.
"India's progress to the final will largely depend on how we fare in our first two matches -- against Holland and Germany. Germany's second team, we hope, will not be as formidable as the senior side," Indian Hockey Federation sources said on Friday.
Germany, who finished second behind Holland in the last edition of the meet in Cologne, decided against fielding their main team in the six-nation championship as they are more keen to play the European Nations Cup in Spain next month which is the qualifying tournament for the Athens Olympics.
Germany coach Bernhard Peters said that it would be "foolish to play in both the tournaments with same team" since both are being held back-to-back.
"We may not make it to next year's Champions Trophy, but it would be tragic if we did not qualify for the Olympics," media reports quoted Peters as saying.
India, who are yet to win the Champions Trophy, came up with their best performance in 1982 in Amsterdam where they finished third.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has also expressed doubts over sending its full-strength team to Amstelveen after four key members came out with "injuries and fitnessá problems" after a preparatory camp in Karachi, which concluded on Thursday.
The four players are forwards Mudassar Ali Khan, Muhammad Asim, half back Dilawar Hussain and full back Zeeshan Ashraf.
"Obviously we are worried and praying that they regain full fitness before the Champions Trophy and the two-Test series against Holland ahead of the event," coach Tahir Zaman said.
"Team medical experts are trying their best to ensure that the players recover as soon as possible," Zaman said.
The 18-member Pakistani team, led by forward Muhammed Nadeem, will fly to Amstelveen on Sunday.