Fireworks expected in India-Pak clash

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Hockey fans are looking forward to Monday's India-Pakistan clash at the Afro-Asian Games.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Hockey fans are looking forward to Monday's India-Pakistan clash at the Afro-Asian Games, even though both teams have rested many of their senior players. While India wants to test its juniors in the tournament, Pakistan has a new foreign coach who will soon start working with the boys. Roelant Oltmans wants to have a first-hand experience of the frenzy that an India-Pakistan hockey match generates. Though slated to take charge as chief coach of Pakistan on December 1, he has come in a little earlier. In fact, Tahir Zaman, the present coach, introduced Oltmans to the boys in Hyderabad. The Dutch coach has one year to transform Pakistan into the champion side that it once was. "Technically and physically it is very important for Pakistan to improve. They are still one of the major teams in the world," said Oltmans. This is the second time that Pakistan has hired a foreign coach, having tried Dutchman Jorritsma in the 1990s. Tahir will now assist Oltmans. "There are a few grey areas and we are going to work there together. Hopefully with Oltman's guidance, Pakistan will be able to produce better results in Olympic Games," said Zaman. Indian coach Rajinder Singh knows a clash against the traditional rivals before a home crowd won't be easy. Particularly with seven seniors missing from the squad. "We have given a chance to younger players so the team can develop," said Singh. Korea, Malaysia and Egypt are the other teams which will try to prevent an India-Pakistan final. Indian fans will surely hope there are no such upsets, for there can be nothing more exciting than an India-Pakistan encounter under floodlights.

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