Pakistan began their Peace Cup 2013 campaign in style, beating Chinese Taipei 1-0 in Bacolod yesterday.
Chinese Taipei had defeated defending champions and hosts Philippines 2-1 in their opening match and were touted as favourites coming into the match.
However, captain Zesh Rehman scored the early winner in the sixth minute of the match.
Earlier, former Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi predicted before that Rehman, who has been a regular in the national squad since 2005, would be under pressure to perform as he has a point to prove as the captain of the team.
Rehman, on the other hand, said he did not feel any extra pressure leading the team.
“There is no pressure as the captain,” Rehman told The Express Tribune. “At the end of the day it is a team effort. It was a good game and we’ll improve in our next match against the Philippines. We have a good chance of winning. But it’s football, so anything can happen. In our next match we’ll be confident but hopefully not over-confident.”
With the win, Pakistan are now leading the event with three points in the tri-nation invitational event. They will play their next match with the Philippines tomorrow.
The tournament is also the first assignment for the newly appointed coach Mohamed Shamlan.
“Shamlan is brilliant, he is the reason why I made myself available for Pakistan,” said Rehman. “I’ve worked with him before in 2005. He is a good coach, he understands the players. He is a people’s person. He understands the mentality of the players and coaches them well. He also understands the tactics of international football so he’ll be great, especially when it comes to developing young players.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2013.