Pakistan hockey great Tahir Zaman finds it “really funny” when someone from Europe or Australia comes here to coach the boys, especially in view of the eclectic sub-continent culture. But, in the next instance, the senior Pakistan coach talks about the need for foreign coaches to train sub-continent coaches to bring in “uniformity of style” in our different regions.
In a nutshell, India and Pakistan “need foreign expertise” to survive, but to regain their standing in world hockey “we need to be trained by our own coaches”.
The 44-year-old Zaman has especially flown in with the Pakistan junior hockey contingent which will take part in the December 6-15 Junior Hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.
“Hockey is in our genes. We don’t need foreign coaches to coach our teams but rather, we need them desperately to coach our coaches, to bring about uniformity in our styles,” reiterated Pakistan national coach, adding: “Our problem is that if one player shifts his base from say Kolkata to Mumbai, he gets confused by the different coaching styles of two individuals. We need to understand that our coaches need to be ‘updated’ with the latest sports training methods in order to train our upcoming players better.”
In Zaman’s view, hockey is already on a revival mode in both India and Pakistan. “A few positive moves have been made in the last three to four years which will reflect in our performances soon.
If continuity remains, then expect India and Pakistan to be amongst the top five teams of the world in the next four years,” said the former Pakistan skipper who was part of the team that did the memorable World Cup-Champions Trophy double in 1994. Zaman felt that both India and Pak juniors have immense capability to finish in the top six in the 16-team tournament here.
Despite Pakistan hockey’s recent decline, where they failed to qualify for 2014 World Cup, Zaman is optimistic that the grassroots level hockey is still alive and kicking back home and that would help Pakistan to start a fresh chapter after the Junior World Cup.
“Like India, where Hockey India has appointed foreign coaches with Indian coaches for longer periods, Pakistan hockey top brass should also think on similar lines. India having Roelant Oltmans working as high performance director and Terry Walsh and Gregg Clark taking care of the senior and junior teams respectively is a good step,” he said.