KARACHI: After failing to finish on the victory stand at the recently-concluded Asian Games in Jakarta, Pakistan hockey team face yet another uphill task when the fifth Asian Champions Trophy takes place in Muscat from Oct 18 to 28.
Pakistan, the former Asian Games champions, had to be content with fourth position in Jakarta after losing to archrivals India 1-2 in the playoff for the bronze.
Japan entered their name in the annals of the game by striking maiden Asiad hockey gold defeating Malaysia 3-1 in the penalty shootout after being tied 6-6 in the high-scoring regulation time.
It is pertinent to mention that South Korea became the first country to end Pakistan-India field hockey domination by crowning their first gold at the 1986 Asiad at Seoul.
The Asian Champions Trophy will see six outfits fighting for honours — Japan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, South Korea and hosts Oman.
Pakistan and India have shared the previous four editions with former winning the titles in 2012 and 2013 and the latter in 2011 and 2016. The significant thing is that Pakistan had featured in all the four finals.
According to the draws, Pakistan face South Korea in their opening fixture on Oct 19. The Pakistan-India clash is scheduled for Oct 20 after which Pakistan take on Oman in the third clash on Oct 22 followed by the Pakistan-Japan tie on Oct 24. The greenshirts face Malaysia in their last league match the following day.
The top four teams will cruise into the semi-finals to be staged on Oct 27 while the final is fixed for Oct 28.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan were held to a 2-2 draw by Japan and 4-4 by Oman in the triangular series that took place in Muscat in February this year.
Asian Champions Trophy schedule:
Oct 18: Malaysia vs Japan, India vs Oman
Oct 19: Pakistan vs South Korea, Oman vs Malaysia
Oct 20: South Korea vs Japan, Pakistan vs India
Oct 21: India vs Japan
Oct 22: Malaysia vs South Korea, Oman vs Pakistan
Oct 23: South Korea vs Oman, Malaysia vs India
Oct 24: Japan vs Pakistan, India vs South Korea
Oct 25: Pakistan vs Malaysia, Japan vs Oman
Oct 27: Semi-finals, classification match for fifth-sixth position
Oct 28: Final, third-fourth position match.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018