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Pakistanis optimistic after losing Asian hockey championship to India

09-14-2011 09:21 BJT

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Though Pakistan hockey team lost to its archrival India in Asian Hockey Championship final recently held in China, most of the Pakistani people and hockey officials were satisfied with the team's impressive performance in this event.

Pakistani hockey fans and team manager expressed their satisfaction about the national team's performance throughout the tournament. The team consisted mainly of young players.

For the Asian Championship, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) gave rest to some senior players and inducted emerging ones from the junior lot.

Before the team's departure to China for the mega event, many sports analysts criticized PHF's decision. However, the team's performance silenced all the criticism.

By winnning three matches, losing one and drawing one, the Pakistan team got ten points before playing the final match against India on Sunday in Ordos, China.

The Pakistan team dominated the game during the two halves of the match, but the India team's solid defense kept Pakistan's aggressive players away from the dangerous zone in regular time, which ended at 0-0 and was followed by another unproductive 15 minutes of extra-time.

This result led to penalty shoot-out during which Pakistani shooters failed twice while experienced and sober Indian players put the ball into the net four times and won the trophy by 4-2.

Two experienced Pakistani players Muhammad Rizwan and Waseem Ahmed struck but youngsters Shafqat Rasool and Abdul Haseem Khan wasted their shots and lost the title.

Muhammad Imran, a hockey fan from capital Islamabad, told Xinhua that though the team lost in the end, he was happy as the team's improvement was excellent.

Pakistanis believed that The Greenshirts would never have lost the title if PHF had not dropped Sohail Abbas, the world's best short corner specialist. The Pakistan team earned eight short corners in the final but failed to convert a single opportunity into goal.

The team manager Khawaja Junaid, after returning back from China on Monday night, said "We were really unlucky, we were in control during field game in the final but somehow failed to score in shoot-out."

Junaid, a former Olympian, said that even reaching the final with a young team was a major achievement as Pakistan tried out several youngsters, and this decision will help Pakistan to prepare a best team for London Olympics.

The Pakistan team was warmly welcomed by the officials and hockey fans when they arrived at the international airport in the country's southern port city of Karachi.

During the current year, the Pakistan hockey team has played five international tournaments, qualifying for the final for four-times and winning two of them.


Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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