Courtesy of the Asian Hockey Federation
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF)is promoting hockey at both development and elite level across the continent through a series of hockey assisted programmes. One such programme was the AHF's National Education Development and High Performance Assistance Project, which enabled national men's and women's teams from Nepal to benefit from high performance training at the hockey centre in Lahore, Pakistan.
More than 60 people took part in the project, including the men's and women's squads, officials and high-ranking individuals from the Nepal Hockey Association. Most of the players from both the men's and women's squad are either students at high schools and colleges or work in the services division.
The AHF is also working closely with its member associations to help players develop their own careers alongside their international hockey commitments. It is these measures that will prove vital for growth of hockey in the region as it will allow players to commit to representing their nation without compromising future careers.
The Nepal men’s and women’s teams traveled first to India for a week-long training camp, where they faced district level teams in Amritsar and Himachal. These matches helped prepare them for the intense development activity planned for them in Lahore.
Lahore, Pakistan then became the headquarters for all the training and coaching activities to be held by the AHF. The courses were delivered by FIH high performance educators and AHF experts.
In addition, during the training camp, both teams were given the opportunity to build on their training and monitor their performance when they faced top quality provincial and club level Pakistani opposition. The training camp and high quality matches are all part of the preparations before Nepal embark on the challenge of the Hockey Series Open.
To further hockey development in Nepal, a Regional Coaching and Umpiring seminar was held in Lahore, which was attended by the coaches and umpires from Nepal. The seminar was instrumental in sharing valuable knowledge to the participants.
Furthermore, AHF provided support in the form of equipment to the Nepal Hockey Federation to aid their progress in development. The donated equipment mainly consisted of hockey sticks, balls and goal keeper sets that was provided free of cost as part of AHF’s equipment support programme.
The underpinning strategy of this development work is to educate the players and coaches so they understand what it means to be international hockey professionals. The main agenda of the Lahore training programme was to help players develop skills, tactics, game awareness and to foster the ability to recognise and address their own strengths and weaknesses.
The long-term aims of the AHF is to enable national teams from all over Asia to become competent, top level teams. In particular the Nepal women’s team is gunning for second spot behind India in the South Asian region. The AHF is offering its full support to help the Nepal women's team rise up the FIH World Rankings and achieve this dream. Similarly, the Nepal men’s team also has its own ambitions, for which the AHF is willing to lend them all the help necessary to achieve their personally defined goals.
The AHF constantly seeks to align its objectives to promote the growth of hockey at all levels. Nepal is a good example of the continental federation’s policies bearing fruit as the national teams continue to develop. The future for hockey in Nepal is bright as the country continues to receive support from the AHF.