LAHORE - The U-16 hockey team here on Tuesday was accorded warm welcome after their return from a highly successful Singapore trip clinching the title of Asia Cup.

The squad and the staff were greeted by a large number of hockey fans, media representatives and general public here at the Allama Iqbal Airport.  Speaking to the media, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said the youth programme aimed at discovering sport talent had brought the spectacular result.

To a query, Bajwa said the goal-ratio and match statistics of the national team were simply outstanding and it was a result of a two and half year investment in the squad. He termed the win an evidence of strength in the players. Team coach Rehan Butt was also present on the occasion.

Pakistan team beat Bangladesh 5-3 in the final, while they didn’t lose a single match during the tournament, bringing laurels for the homeland. Team consultant Tahir Zaman attributed team’s success to collective efforts and brilliance of players. "Despite hot weather conditions, our team rose to the occasion and displayed excellent performance and remained unbeaten in the event," he said.

He said the entire side demonstrated collective efforts and the players played every match with a renewed pledge to gain success. Tahir said each player of the team struck brilliance helping the side to maintain unbeaten run in the event. "It is a new beginning in Pakistan hockey as real efforts are being made to groom a young team focusing on the future of Pakistan hockey," he added. He expressed the hope that the team would produce similar results in future events as well. Captain Noukhaiz Khan said he was delighted his side won a title in its maiden appearance, qualifying for next year's Youth Olympics in China.

He acknowledged the role of every team member in its success saying all of them demonstrated high quality hockey endorsing the thoughts that Pakistan hockey is on right track.  "It is a good start and I am confident that we will be able to put up a much improved performance in the Youth Olympics," he said.

Bajwa said the victory was the result of the PHF long-term planning under which academies were established throughout the country. He praised the contribution of team management comprising Tahir Zaman, Rehan and Rana Zaheer.