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Pak coach wary of India: Jr. Asia Cup hockey
April 12, 2004 15:54 IST
Pakistan will be banking on home advantage to snuff out their main threat, defending champions India, in the fifth Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament, starting in Karachi from April 20.
"India have a strong team and if our boys are able to take the crown it will a be great boost for hockey," Pakistan coach Asif Bajwa said.
"The Indians, considering their recent performance and past track record, are the best and most experienced team among the participants.
"Playing at home will give us the benefit against all teams, particularly against the Indians," Bajwa was quoted as saying by the APP news agency.
The ten-nation continental event will be played at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium from April 20 to 29.
Bajwa said the Indians have a powerful penalty-corner striker in Sandeep Singh and a good forward line.
"But we are geared up and well-prepared to tackle the Indians.
"We are equally good in all areas including deep defence, half line, and the forward line is the best picked in the past one year," he added.
"We have selected the best lot for the event and if they produce their best and utilize the chances, they have a fair chance of winning."
He said the home team's first target would be to qualify for the next year's Junior World Cup, to be held in Holland.
He said during the training camps and triangular events besides series against The Netherlands and Malaysia juniors, the team worked hard on weak areas and shortcomings.
"We tried our best to rectify shortcomings and improve weak departments."
Hosts Pakistan are drawn in pool "A" with Chinese Taipei, Japan and Singapore. Holders India, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are drawn in pool "B".
The Indians are undergoing training in the National Stadium in Delhi.