KARACHI: Pakistan continued their impressive show at the South Asian Beach Handball Championship as their second side defeated Afghanistan 2-0 in Faisalabad yesterday.
The hosts, who had to field two teams after India withdrew from the event, saw their first-string side record a win over Nepal on the opening day of the event on Tuesday before Pakistan Whites continued the impressive show by beating Afghanistan.
Pakistan Whites were given a run for their money by Afghanistan in the first half but eventually won 20-16. In the second half, they sealed the win 14-12. However, the Whites then lost to Pakistan Greens 2-0, while Afghanistan registered their first win in the competition against Nepal, taking the first half 19-8 and second half 17-11.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Handball Federation President Mohammad Shafiq said only one team from the country would take part in the final. He added that the better of the two – Afghanistan and Nepal – would make the cut to complete the final line-up.
Pakistan Greens, featuring six national players, have six points after winning both games and are leading the event. The country’s national team is ranked third in Asia while Afghanistan are number 10. Nepal finished 13th at the Asian Beach Games Handball Championship in China last year.
‘Players feel safe’
While the event faced a setback after the Indian team refused to take part, Afghanistan player Muhammad Bashir said the championship was a good opportunity for his players to improve their game, adding that Faisalabad was a safe city.
“The Afghanistan handball team is visiting Pakistan since 2003 and we are on very good terms with the officials here,” Bashir told The Express Tribune. “The organisation of the event is also good. We don’t have any concerns regarding security here.
“Both Pakistan and Afghanistan can benefit from these events. The bilateral visits will only help our teams in improving our game for other international tournaments.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2013.