“Not being able to cover the gaps, consistent missing and lack of fitness” saw the Green Shirts getting completely outclassed by Australia at the Azlan Shah Cup yesterday, says Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui.
“Pakistan lost by a tennis score. That is what 6-0 looks like to me,” said Islah. “The Aussies dominated the game completely and there was little that the Pakistan hockey team did in reply,” he added while speaking to Dawn.
“Frankly, if Imran, our goalkeeper, had not saved four to five goals, Australia could have scored 10 or 11 goals,” he pointed out. “This is the height of humiliation!” He regretted.
“Australia as usual played their traditional open game and like always our defenders could not cover the gaps,” said the former captain and coach.
“It must be mentioned here that Australia’s coach Charlesworth also brought a young team. There are some seven to eight young players in their side while Pakistan are playing full strength,” he said.
“It is clear that our boys were lacking in physical fitness, too. I ask the Pakistan Hockey Federation what have they done in the last five years if they couldn’t even work on the team’s physical fitness and their missing, for these are the two main weaknesses they have been complaining about during all this time.
“Waqas Sharif, Haseem Khan and Pakistan’s other forwards missed open chances as well as one-to-one chances. Even their passing was intercepted. And when we got a penalty corner, even then we sent it outside the goalpost. They should have at least aimed it inside. Who scores on penalty corners by sending them outside the goalpost?” Islah questioned.
“The position at the moment is that Pakistan have won one match and lost one. But we haven’t been playing well at all. After getting a freehand for making and preparing a good team over these five years, the federation should at least be talking about winning tournaments and championships instead of just reaching the podium,” he concluded.