Olympic Qualifiers: Muhammad Rizwan senior named Pakistan captain

The 19-member squad finalised for the do-or-die contests against Netherlands is a blend of youth and experience.

Pakistan’s last participation in an international competition was in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar last year.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Muhammad Rizwan senior will lead Pakistan in the two FIH Olympic Qualifier matches against Netherlands, scheduled to be held later this month — on October 26 and 27 — in Amsterdam.

Chief selector Manzoor Junior announced a 19-member squad for the matches. Finalised after two days of trials in Lahore, the squad is a blend of youth and experience.

Pakistan’s last appearance in an international competition was in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar in 2018. It performed poorly there, leading to the removal of the then secretary — Shahbaz Ahmed — and the sacking of the coaching staff.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation has also invited a State-level coach from Australia to take part in the ongoing camp. The PHF has named Khawaja Junaid — a former Olympian — as the team’s head coach.

Pakistan, currently ranked 17th, has to win against Netherlands, the World No. 3, to directly qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Pakistan squad
  • Waqar (goalkeeper), Amjad Ali (goalkeeper), Mubashar Ali, Rizwan Ali, Imad Butt, Abubakr Mahmood, Ali Shaan, Ijaz Ahmed, Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Rizwan senior (captain), Rana Sohail, Rana Waheed, Ghazanfar Ali, Hammad Anjum, Irfan senior.