Game plan was flawed throughout the tourney: Shahnaz

Karachi: The Pakistan team management used a game-plan in the Azlan Shah Cup which could have been a hit with megastar players like legendary Olympians Samiullah or Hasan Sardar but with the contemporary players, it was destined to be a flop, feels former hockey Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh.

“The team management used a game-plan, which could only work out if there were stars in the team. There were big gaps among our players as if our players were capable to dodge two or three opponent’s players and then give pass to a teammate. The plan could have worked if there had been players like Samiullah or Hasan Sardar, who could dodge players, but there is none in the present squad to have the plan worked,” Shahnaz Sheikh told PPI.

Pakistan, who started the Azlan Shah Cup campaign in Ipoh, Malaysia as second ranked team behind world champion Australia, has been eliminated from the title run. Pakistan drew its fourth match against host Malaysia 22 on Thursday.

Australia leads the table with eight points while Malaysia sits at second spot also with eight points. New Zealand is at third place with six points followed by Korea and Pakistan, who have earned four points and fourth and fifth place respectively. India sits at bottom-rock sixth place with three points.

“Pakistan should have proved its fifth standing in the world and second seedings in the tournament. But it has failed to win matches even against much lower ranked teams. They have even lost to India, who has been defeated by everyone else,” Shahnaz pointed out.

He said that the team management embarked on a game-plan, which totally mismatched the team’s players.

“Players were unable to perform because of the game-plan. The players were far away from one another and they could have played only individual game under the given circumstances. The game-plan should have been devised to bring players closer so that they could have been able to rely on short passes. However, they felt helpless when they had the ball and either their long passes were intercepted or they lost the possession to their opponents by making unsuccessful efforts to doge players,” Shahnaz explained.

He also pointed out that the manager and the coaches were standing watching the match instead of making notes in order to devise game-plan as the match went on.

“You cannot only guide players verbally. You need to create understanding of the match, the plans of the opponent and their strengths and weakness and then make out what changes in the game-plan are needed. This could only be done by quickly taking notes, weighing different options against the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents and then guiding the players accordingly,” Shahnaz added.

Pakistan will now face Asian rival South Korea in the last league match.