Pak Hockey team eyes Olympic gold

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The summers Games in Athen's will mark the 20th anniversary since Pakistan last won the gold medal at the Olympics.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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New Delhi:

If Indian Hockey seems to be going through a transition phase with the recent appointment of two foreign coaches, then things are not much different across the border in Pakistan. The only difference being that Pakistan had acquired the services of their foreign coach last year, which seems to have paid off with Pakistan being counted as one of the favourites in the tournament. The game in Athen's will mark the 20th anniversary since Pakistan last won the gold medal at the Olympics. In an effort to change all that, Pakistan hired the services of Dutch legend Roelant Oltmans as Coach at the end of last year and are hoping that his experience will lead them to the holy grail. "I know there are many teams that want to achieve the Olympic gold. At the moment we are in the top five. By the end of August, we must make sure that we are at the highest level," Roelant Oltmans, Coach, Pakistan Hockey Team. 'Group of Death' But getting to that highest level will not be easy. Pakistan has been pooled in Group A or the so called 'Group of Death' along with current world champions Germany, Asian champions South Korea, Spain, Great Britain and Egypt. Pool B has current Olympic and Champions Trophy holders Holland, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. But one of the reasons why bookmakers are making Pakistan a favourite is because of Sohail Abbas, the man considered by many as the best short corner specialist in the world today. Team effort But the coach emphasises that Hockey is a team game and not an individual sport. "We do not have just one key player. I think every player in the team is important. Of course Sohail is very important because of his penalty corners. He is 'the specialist' in the world. Therefore he is absolutely one of our key players," said Oltmans. Pakistan's recent results and their month long tour of Europe have shown that just like their cricket counterparts they are a very unpredictable side. But come August 15 when they open their title charge against Germany, they are hoping that their unpredictability and inconsistency will be a thing of the past.

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