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Transfer coup for Sudbury Hockey Club as former Pakistan international Adnan Zakir joins as player-coach for return to Premier B

Sudbury Hockey Club have pulled off a major transfer coup ahead of their men’s long-awaited return to East Premier B level, with ex-Pakistan international Adnan Zakir joining in a player-coach role.

The 32-year-old midfielder or striker has agreed to come out of retirement to help lead Sudbury’s return to the East Men’s League’s second tier for the first time in 20 years, following their Division One title-winning campaign.

Zakir, who has 169 caps for Pakistan and whose achievements include a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, had taken some of Sudbury’s pre-season training last summer, as well as watching some games.

Newmarket Hockey Club..1st teams coaching with Adnan Zakir..Picture Mark Westley. (11607271)
Newmarket Hockey Club..1st teams coaching with Adnan Zakir..Picture Mark Westley. (11607271)

Last season’s coach of Old Loughtonians Ladies is now set to have a leading role as part of the club’s bid to establish themselves at a higher level, having been impressed with the talent he observed within the squad.

“I am extremely happy and excited to join Sudbury Hockey Club,” he said.

“I’ll bring my experience and creativity to the role with the benefit of having observed the team last season, which had helped me have a lot of ideas that I now have the opportunity to implement.

“Hopefully I can take this team and the club to the next level.”

It is Zakir’s second coaching role in Suffolk, having left a lasting impression at Newmarket HC as director of coaching.

Sudbury Hockey - Mens 1st Team..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11847209)
Sudbury Hockey - Mens 1st Team..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11847209)

“I haven’t played for the last two years due to my injuries and now I’m looking forward to playing with this creative team,” he added.

The player who won bronze medals with Pakistan at both the Champions Trophy and Azlan Cup in 2004 and 2005, is also set to use his vast experience to help the next generation of hockey players in the town. Dates of school holiday hockey camps, including with other men’s and ladies’ first-team players and club coaches, are set to be announced soon.

The club’s 2019/20 season begins in September and Zakir has already had an influence on the men’s first team moving to twice weekly training.

Goalkeeper Chris Smith will co-captain the side again alongside Adam Bullock, as well as goal-machine Will Chrystal.

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