Pakistan recall rebel hockey players for Euro tour

June 8th, 2012 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 8 (IANS) The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Friday recalled rebel senior players Shakeel Abbasi and Wasim Ahmad into the 18-member squad for the upcoming European tour scheduled to start next week.

Abbasi and Ahmad were among the eight players who were fined heavily by the PHF for taking part in the rebel World Series Hockey (WSH) in India earlier this year. Their fines were, however, reduced after they appealed to PHF president Qasim Zia.

Abbassi and Rehan Butt, who were earlier fined $10,100 each, had to shell out $1,070 while Ahmad, Zeeshan Ashraf, Imran Warsi, Adnan Maqsood, Tariq Aziz and Mudassar Ali Khan’s penalty was reduced from $2,700 to $530.

Earlier, it was feared that the PHF might ban all these players for at least two years, but the federation had to change its mind after national team’s poor performance in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Malaysia.

The team’s debacle in Malaysia also prompted the selectors to recall former captain Mohammed Imran, who has gained fitness and form after being overlooked for poor performance.

The upcoming European tour would be the last attempt by Pakistan to get prepared for the Olympics

The PHF high officials Thursday finalised the squad for the tour after having a meeting with the selection committee and management of the team.

The training camp of the reserve players was also started with the objective to keep the players in proper shape to find replacements for the team, if needed, for Olympics after the tour of Europe.

The Pakistani team that has been preparing for the London Olympics had a torrid time during the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia where it could win only its first match against Argentina 4-2 but was beaten in the remaining five successive matches — by New Zealand (1-3), South Korea (0-4), Malaysia (2-3), India (1-2) and Britain (1-2).

The Pakistani team will leave for a European tour Saturday and play matches in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands next week.

Squad: Imran Shah, M Irfan, Syed Kashif Shah, M Khalid, M Imran, Sohail Abbas, Farid Ahmad, Rashid Mahmood, M Rizwan Jr, M Tauseeq, Wasim Ahmed, M Waqas, Sahfqat Rasool, M Umer Bhutta, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Rizwan Sr, and Ali Shah.

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