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Strength of basketball camp trimmed to 14 - Feb 21, 2005


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GREG
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ISLAMABAD: As many as 14 boys were retained from the total 20 national basketball camp trainees on Monday.
The strength of the camp, set up in preparation for the first Islamic Solidarity Games to be staged in Saudi Arabia, was reduced as the team management wanted to work on the 14 players before naming the final 12-member squad plus two reserves early next month.
The organisers of the first Islamic Solidarity Games have set March 8 as the deadline for receiving by name entries of all the participating contingents. The Games begin on April 8.
"We have trimmed the camp to 14 players as we want to concentrate on polishing the skills of these players before picking the best 12 to represent the country in the Islamic Games," said Lt Col Naseem Butt, who will manage the team in Saudi Arabia, on Monday.
Chaudhry Mohammad Bashir and Ghulam Haider, both former national captains, are supervising the camp and will accompany the team as coaches.
The retained camp trainees are dominated by Army players, which is quite natural as Army have been one of the most dominating forces in Pakistan basketball history for a number of years now.
Besides seven Army players, two each are from Pakistan Air Force and Wapda, and one each from Railways, Navy and North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) make up the final probables.
The camp trainees were selected after the National Basketball Championship held in the NWFP city of Nowshera in December last year. The camp began on January 10.
Pakistan have been placed in Group D of the Islamic Games tournament along with Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Tajikistan and Chad. As many as 22 teams are taking part in the event's basketball championship.
This will be Pakistan's first appearance in an international basketball tournament in 10 years.
The last tournament the national team participated in was the Madras South Asian Federation Games in 1995 when they finished runners-up behind hosts India. Pakistan last featured in the Asian Basketball Championship way back in 1993 in Jakarta (Indonesia) where they finished a poor 17th out of the total 18 participating teams and after that Pakistan never qualified to play in the tournament.
Meanwhile, the training camp has been again shifted to Islamabad's Pakistan Sports Complex, where it began originally. It was moved to the indoor courts of the Army Sports Stadium in Rawalpindi for a brief period, during which the trainees took part in a three-a-side basketball tournament before heading back to Islamabad on Monday.
Players retained for camp training are: Mohammad Ilyas, Mir Alam Khan, Sher Bahadur, Waheed Iqbal, Muddasir Khan, Khalid Ahmed and Pervez Hussain (Army), Atif Riaz and Imran (Air Force), Mohammad Prem Shahzad and Mohammad Akhtar (Wapda), Bilal Mustafa (Navy), Adnan Khan (Railways), Shehryar (NWFP).
  



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