Oman hockey team sweats it out for new challenges

Muscat, JAN 28 – The Oman national hockey team is working hard and slugging it out in the training camp ahead of the new season. The training camp which effectively started at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on January 18th is on in full swing and coach Tahir Zaman is happy with the way it has gone about. “The boys are working hard. We have an international tournament coming up in Hong Kong from February 8-10 where we will play against the hosts Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and a Chinese provincial side,’’ Zaman added. The coach said the team was using the two upcoming international competitions, one in Hong Kong and the three-nation friendly, as preparation for the all-important Asian Games qualifiers in March.
“As far as I am concerned, it is very clear that we are using these opportunities to prepare ourselves the best for the Asian Games qualifiers,’’ he added.
There are 28 players who are part of the training camp and coach Zaman said they were focusing on certain aspects.
“We were focusing on muscular endurance training and muscular speed as these are two things that I feel our boys have to improve. Every alternate day we are having gym sessions and we are focusing on speed and agility,’’ he added.
The coach also said the team is working on its hockey skills.
“We are having sessions to work on set-plays, penalty corners and free-hits. We are also working on the attacking pattern from the left and right flanks. There is stress on one-on-one defending as well,’’ Zaman said.
Coach Zaman stated he was trying to work on the overall aspect of the team’s game including attack and defence.
“I have had discussions with the rest of the coaching staff and players and we feel there is a need to bring about an improvement in our counter-attacking and counter-defending abilities,’’ he added.
Talking about the composition of the team, coach Zaman stressed on the need to ensure a balance between the experienced and young players.
“That is exactly what we are looking to do. Create a balance of some of our more experienced players and some exciting new young players like Rashad, Assad and Muhanna. So that, when there is a competition between the young and experienced players, it helps the overall development of the game,’’ he added.
The coach expressed his happiness and satisfaction with the way the players have shaped up so far in the training sessions.
“The players are very happy and very positive and so am I, very happy as well. After each training session, I take the feedback from the team and they are willing to learn and willing to work hard,’’ he revealed.
South Korea have expressed their unavailability to attend the February 14-20 international tournament in Muscat owing to other commitments.
“South Korea will not be attending the tournament and have expressed their regret. No reason has been given as such,’’ Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chairman Talib al Wahaibi said.

Haridev Pushparaj