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Attacking game paid off for Greenshirts: Islah

December 07, 2012

hockey, pakistan hockey, champions trophy
Felix Reuss of Germany deflects a ball from Shakeel Abbasi of Pakisan. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Olympian Islahauddin Siddiqui has congratulated the Pakistan hockey team for beating the young German side 2-1 in the Champions Trophy quarter-final to reach the tournament’s semi-finals in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday.

“The boys played good attacking hockey throughout and they got their reward for that in the form of victory,” said the winning captain of the tournament’s first edition in 1978.

“A win is a win. There is nothing like it. It washes away all past mistakes and sins and gives a new resolve to the players to do even better the next time. The high it gives increases morale and confidence. It also motivates other youngsters as new players are attracted towards the game, bringing in new talent. Pakistan needs big victories to revive hockey in the country,” Islah observed.

“I have been saying this from the start that the experienced Pakistan side should win this tournament,” he added.

Speaking about the match itself, Islah said that due to playing attacking hockey, Pakistan also got four penalty corners while Germany only got two.

“Pakistan also kept 64 per cent ball possession. The more you keep the ball with you, the more chances you have for scoring. We were losing to Germany 1-0 at interval but came back into the game in the second half to display fine physical fitness,” he said.

“Shakeel Abbasi did great by scoring both goals for Pakistan. But he should not be dribbling with the ball as much as he did during the match because the ball moves faster than the player and it should be made to travel more than the player,” Islah explained.

“Although we won today, we should still not ignore our weaknesses, the biggest one of which is our persistent missing. In my opinion, Pakistan should have won this match by five to six goals as we lost as many open chances,” he said.

Pakistan will now take on Holland in the semi-finals. “We had lost to the Dutch 3-1 in the pool stage due to missing. It is now our chance to get back at them by beating them after carefully studying our faults in that match. If you ask me, we should play attacking hockey, our natural style. After 1994, Pakistan has a good chance of winning the Champions Trophy for a fourth time,” Islah concluded.

Pakistan was winner of the 1978, 1980 and 1994 editions of the tournament that they started in 1978.