Green shirts can qualify for final: Shahnaz Sheikh

Karachi: Pakistan’s former hockey Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh on Monday said that Pakistan could qualify for the final of Azlan Shah Cup even after a 6-0 thrashing from Aussies on Sunday.

“Pakistan could beat India as the team is struggling and has not been in good form. Other matches are against South Korea and Malaysia, which could also be defeated by the green shirts,” Shahnaz Shiekh told PPI.

Pakistan is all set to face archrival India today Tuesday.

Shahnaz said that Pakistan has secured three points and hopefully after winning the next three matches, Pakistan would be able to accumulate 12 points, which would propel Pakistan into the final of the ongoing tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia. Pakistan has earlier defeated New Zealand 4-3 in the tournament opener.

“Pakistan normally performs well against Asian teams and I have always pointed out that the green shirts have now turned into a regional team than a world class outfit, which it was. Whenever they come against European teams or Australia, they struggles as we have seen them playing against Australia on Sunday,” he said.

He added that the team has low recovery level and as the players get exhausted in big tournaments.

“After playing against New Zealand, the players failed to recover and failed to put resistance against Australia. The aging players and overall fitness could fully be evaluated when our team plays back to back matches,” he said.

He also criticized the forward line for missing opportunities in the match against Australia. “When the players miss chances in the open goals, they don’t only fail their team from scoring but it also put pressure on the defence. The opponents make the most of it and start putting pressure on the defence by clinging to attacking game as their counterparts has failed to do so or capitalized it,” he explained.

He said that Pakistan must now go all out to win matches against lower ranked teams.

“Pakistan must now also consider the goal difference in the remaining matches as well. Although they have won one match and lost one but they scored only four goals against nine goals,” he pointed.