KARACHI: Pakistan’s junior team rounded off their tour of Egypt with a 4-2 thrashing in the fourth and final match of the series that took place in Cairo.
Despite the loss, Pakistan claimed the series 2-1 against Egypt’s national side by winning the first and third matches. The original itinerary included a fifth match but was cancelled with mutual consent from both the teams due to Ramazan. Pakistan won the first match 2-1, drew the second 2-2 and took a 2-0 lead by winning the third match 1-0.
On the field, the fourth match saw the hosts dominate proceedings after they took the lead in the first half. Egypt scored three more goals in the second half to confirm victory with Pakistan’s fightback bringing just a brace, which was not enough to save them from the defeat.
Experiment, injuries led to defeat
Team coach Rana Mujahid said that experimentation and injuries to various players led to the disappointing finish in the finale.
“Since we had already secured the series, we gave a chance to our reserve players,” Mujahid told The Express Tribune from Cairo. “About four players were carrying injuries which created problems for us.”
Despite the setback, Mujahid termed the series beneficial, saying it gave the upcoming players much -needed international exposure.
“It was a successful series. We were playing a senior side which was far more experienced than our youngsters.”
Chief selector unhappy with results
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) chief selector Hanif Khan, who was expecting a whitewash from the young brigade in the series, was utterly disappointed with the results.
“I am not satisfied with the show,” said Khan. “The team had the potential to whitewash Egypt’s senior team. During the training camps, the junior players performed very well and even look better than the seniors.
“But, I am very concerned about their performance in international assignments. I was also shocked to see them dumped out of the Asia Cup without winning the title.”
The colts, who went to Singapore in June to defend their Asia Cup title, lost to South Korea in the semi-finals.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.