Oltmans plotting revival of Pakistan's glory days

KUALA LUMPUR: Coach Roelant Oltmans, a master tactician, harbours the dream of reviving Pakistan's glory days in hockey.

Having guided India to the Junior World Cup (JWC) crown in 2016, the Dutchman now aspires to achieve a similar feat with Pakistan in the KL edition.

The Green Shirts qualified for the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group D.

The unbeaten side drew 3-3 and 1-1 with the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively, and outplayed New Zealand 4-0.

They will face favourites Spain for a place in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Oltmans is optimistic about Pakistan's chances of reaching the semi-finals.

"We have studied Spain's game through their match videos and are preparing strategies for the match.

"For the first time in 18 years, Pakistan are in the JWC quarter-finals, and we will not squander this chance; we are prepared to give a strong fight."

"Pakistan hockey is on a revival, and reaching the last eight here is a huge boost.

"I believe this team can soon make inroads in senior hockey.

"I am very proud of the boys, who have worked hard in the last few months. Some are even regulars in the senior team," said the 69-year-old Oltmans.

Pakistan's hopes hinge on forward Arshad Liaqat and penalty corner specialist Arbaz Ahmad against Spain, who have a powerful drag flicker in Andreas Rafi, who has scored three goals.

Spain coach Oriol Puig Torras admitted that Pakistan would be a difficult opponent.

"But I have faith in my players. I believe they can produce their best and secure a spot in the semi-finals," Torras added.

Pakistan have won twice and drawn once against Spain in the JWC. In their last encounter 30 years ago, Pakistan outplayed hosts Spain 5-0 in the Terrassa edition.

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