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Pakistan recalls retired hockey stars

June 16, 2010 19:00 IST

The Pakistan Hockey Federation on Wednesday recalled senior players Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Zeeshan Ashraf, who had announced their retirement after the team finished bottom of the heap in the World Cup in India.

The PHF also recalled Waseem Ahmed and Salman Akbar for a national camp, from June 20, in Karachi, to prepare for a tour of Europe ahead of the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

All these players had announced their retirement after the World Cup debacle in India.

Gearing up for the Commonwealth and Asian Games this year, the PHF has also decided to rope in a foreign coach for the team.

The decision to appoint a foreign coach was taken by the executive board of the PHF after a meeting in Lahore in which the team's performance in recent months was reviewed.

Pakistan finished last in the Delhi World Cup earlier this year, which led to an upheaval in the hockey set up with coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa removed and the national selectors also resigning.

Pakistan took part in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last month with a new look side, finishing fifth.

"The board has given approval to appoint a foreign coach and we have three candidates in the shortlist. All three have agreed to come and accept the assignment," PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said.

He didn't name the candidates but said one of them would be finalised after getting the approval from the Federal sports minister and government later this week.

Sources said Paul Lissek of Germany, Barry Dancer of Australia and Michel Vann Den of Holland are shortlisted for the job.

Bajwa said the PHF had held discussions with all three foreigners and all of them had no concerns about the security situation in Pakistan.

"They are willing to come and coach the national team ahead of important events. Now we have to finalise one name and we will do it shortly."

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