KARACHI: World XI hockey team captain Roderick Weusthof heaped praise on young Pakistani players, who have the skill to become potential world beaters at the international level, but need a bit of exposure.
The visiting side comfortably won the opening game of the two-match series which was played at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium in Karachi on Friday.
The Greenshirts scored the opener in the first quarter courtesy Adeel Latif’s strike. The World XI team tried hard to level the score, but the home side’s defense stood firm.
The second quarter was also frustrating for the visitors, who, even after getting numerous chances, weren’t able to equalise.
However, in the third quarter, the visitors finally fought their way back into the game, all thanks to the strike from skipper Weusthof, who turned the penalty corner in the 33rd minute.
From there onwards, the visitor’s did not give anything away to the home side, and scored four more goals courtesy another strike from Weusthof, with Grant Schubert, Philip Meulenbroek and David Alegre also contributing one goal each in the 5-1 victory.
After the match, the 35-year-old Weusthof, while talking to the media, appreciated the young Pakistan team and urged the home crowd to come to Lahore for the second match in big numbers and support the national team.
“The boys played really well in the first quarter,” said Weusthof. “They were faster than us and also more skilful. I have seen a few really skilled players who can be the future of Pakistan hockey. All they need is a bit more experience. I hope they learn from this match and take it to Lahore to give us a tough time and win.”
The Dutch national continued by praising the hospitality of the people of Pakistan.
“We really enjoyed here in Karachi, felt safe and it was really nice to see that people still have the spirit for hockey. It is really important that foreign teams come here and play with Pakistan to see how wonderful a nation they are. I believe if people cheer for their team [in Lahore], it will help them in producing a much better result.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Captain Junaid Manzoor said the result is down to the lack of experience in the home team. “We dominated the first quarter,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune. “But then the experienced players of the World XI team, who have gold medals to their names, held us back. But it was a good match and we’ve learned a lot from it.”
He added that they will try to settle the score in the second match against the World XI in Lahore.
“We are still upbeat and have lot of energy for the second match,” said Manzoor. “The World XI players have given us some important tips which we will try to implement in the next match and produce better results.”