KARACHI: As Pakistan hockey team begins their journey at the 18th edition of the Asian Games, captain Rizwan Senior is confident about winning their opening game against Thailand at GBK Hockey field in Jakatra on Monday.
The team, who was able to secure the silver medal at the 2014 Asian Games, is all set to take on the five nations in their pool B.
“We have been practicing in Pakistan since last three months and worked on our formation and also the execution. The head coach Roelant Oltmans has worked really hard with us and the result was seen in the practice match against Japan which we won 2-0,” captain Rizwan told The Express Tribune. “We have our target fixed, that is reaching the final and winning, but still we will be focusing on each game separately.”
He further added that the team is in much better form than before and we are executing our moves in a much-better manner. “The players are fully in sync and they know what will the other players do next,” he said.
The experienced player Umer Bhutta told The Express Tribune that Hockey has become so fast that if you miss a shot and the opponent team gets the ball, they’ll quickly attack. “You have to keep your eye on the ball, you cannot miss a pass or give a wrong pass, you should know where will you teammate move next you have to pass there or be at the right position to receive it,” he said.
“It is not about any individual doing well in the game now, every player has to be at their best if the team wants to win. We all have set our aim and will take this competition to the end with our presence in the game,” he added.
World’s 13th ranked team Pakistan will be facing 47th ranked Thailand in their opener on Monday, followed by 33rd ranked Oman’s match on Wednesday, 86th ranked Kazakhstan on Friday, then 12th ranked Malaysia on August 26, before playing last pool match against 31st ranked Bangladesh on August 28.
“We are not taking any team lightly, we know that this is a game where the lead changes in seconds so even the last 10 seconds of the game are crucial and this team has won matches in the last minutes in the past. So we will be doing our best till end and will not be at ease at any point against any team,” said head coach Oltmans.
Meanwhile, Pool A comprises of fifth ranked India, 14th ranked South Korea, 16th ranked Japan, 38th ranked Sri Lanka, 45th ranked Hong Kong and host debutant Indonesia.