Muscat, dec 5 – Oman hockey received a shot in the arm as former Pakistan captain and 1994 World Cup winner Tahir Zaman signed up for a two-year contract as the national hockey team’s coach.
Zaman signed the contract papers with Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chairman Talib al Wahaibi at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
Zaman will replace Indian KK Poonacha, who was at the helm of affairs with the Oman team for over a year. It will herald a new beginning for Oman as they seek to make their mark at the Asian level after showing glimpses of their potential at the Asia Cup.
The Pakistan legend was excited on taking up the new role and shared his thoughts with Oman Daily Observer.
“As far as the new role is concerned, I think it is quite a challenge for me. Talking about Omani hockey, I have been following them from the last few years. I believe they do have the potential to compete against the big teams. But they need to be introduced to a high performance structure which will help them to refine their skills and polish them properly. It will ultimately enhance their performance. They can improve more by doing that,’’ Zaman added.
Zaman did follow Oman’s campaign at the Asia Cup, where they finished at the bottom and made his observations.
“I would say couple of areas are important. They need to be more composed and calm especially in result producing situations… whether it is attacking or defending situation. They tend to be a little bit emotional and are missing chances in attacking situations. They need to ultimately create more balance in the defensive and offensive approaches,’’ he explained.
In terms of the methodology that he will adopt while coaching the team, Zaman stated it will be the coaching style of today.
“It is going to be the one which is used by all the top performing teams in the world… that is the contemporary style… which is allowing the participants to express themselves and question the coach and also where we interact… watching videos of top teams and imbibing the lessons from there which will help them understand the difference between them… putting those things into practice sessions. We will also look to play practice matches with top teams,’’ the new coach said.
As far as exposure for the Oman team is concerned, Zaman replied in the affirmative.
“Well… it would be properly chalked out plan after talking with OHA. We would like to play the top teams in Asia like India, Pakistan and Korea. At the same time, we will also target Europe after discussing with OHA,’’ he added.
Zaman also said that the Oman team will have to polish their technique a lot more and bring it to the high performance level.
“Here when they are creating a move… the passing attitude is a bit casual… they need to perform that in a second or micro seconds… that is what is high performance. In one on one situations… they are rushing… they need to work on the technique and tactics… repositioning element is very important… off the ball movements is very critical… if they can adopt that method it will be very good,’’ Zaman revealed.
Asked about exchanging notes with predecessor KK Poonacha, Zaman said it was too early to comment on that.
“It is early to say anything on that but I have gone through one of his reports on the team. It would be nice to have a chat with him,’’ Zaman added.
Zaman also has a constructive plan for the domestic hockey structure in Oman. “We will try to bring it on a professional structure and I will discuss with the OHA as to how we can improve the level,’’ he said.
OHA CHAIRMAN UPBEAT
OHA chairman Talib al Wahaibi was optimistic after the appointment of Tahir Zaman as the new coach.
“The contract we have signed with Tahir Zaman will see him as the supervisor of the junior and senior teams and overall Oman hockey. I think Tahir is a very well-known name in Asia and the world… I think he’s an added value for Oman hockey. I think Tahir has come into this country at the right time and as the right person. It is a two-year contract that will be renewed if everything goes well. His achievements talk a lot about him. He’s the right person for the next two years. I think we will give him the priviledge and freedom to help and achieve.