Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Former Pakistan hockey captain, Ahmed Alam, while appreciating Pakistan’s performance in the ongoing Asia Cup, said that nothing less than a victory would satisfy him as a Pakistani and as a former player. “Winning the Asia Cup is the sole objective; the team is playing well but still a few hurdles to cross, if the team doesn’t win [God forbid] nobody would remember their early victories in the competition”, said Ahmed Alam while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
“Pakistan played according to a precise plan so far, for instance against Malaysia the moves were carried out from the right-side, which seemed a part of a well-planned strategy. The team carried forward the momentum in the following group matches as well.” added the former captain.
The green-shirts are desperate to win the Asia Cup in order to qualify for the World Cup 2014. After dominating the group stage, with victories against Chinese Taipei (13-0), Malaysia (4-1) and Japan (7-0), Pakistan will face Korea in one of the semi final matches on Friday.
Alam felt that almost all the teams in the tournament – Asia Cup – were at par while the coaches could create a difference. “All the teams are at par, which makes the coaches’ role imperative. The coach capitalises on opponent’s weakness, through strategy, will win”, said Ahmed Alam
On the changes prior to the event, former goal-keeping coach mentioned the recall of goal-keeper Salman Akbar to the Pakistan team, saying that the veteran had to prove the management right. “A few players returned from injuries, and the only inclusion was of Salman Akbar who has to prove the management right which chose him [Akber] over others”, said Alam
Salman Akbar was the member of the Pakistan team that won the 2010 Asian Games in China, however was out of favour since then.
On a question, Ahmed Alam dispelled the impression that going back to Salman Akbar indicated the lack of talent in the Goal-keeping department. “Salman Akber’s best performances were under my tenure as coach. Later on, apart from the last two events, other keeper, Imran Butt performed very well, but, I think, in view of Butt’s performance in last two events and the importance of the Asia Cup, the management opted for the experience in Salman Akbar”, concluded Ahmed Alam.