'For Olympics semi-final berth, Pakistan hockey has a tough test ahead'

Defeating world champion Australia requires top performance from each and every player: Former Olympians

Ppi August 06, 2012

KARACHI: Hockey legend Olympian Hasan Sardar feels that there is a tough test ahead for the green-shirts when they face world champions Australia on Tuesday in a do-or-die battle.

To conquer their opponents, Sardar believes that  performances from each player could earn a rare victory for Pakistan and a rarer Olympics semi-final berth.

"Each and every player must perform in the match to win against Australia," Sardar told PPI. "Pakistan plays well against Australians and there is a chance that eighth placed Pakistan could beat World No1 Australians in the last group match."

However, Sardar added that the match could be their toughest test yet and the defence must put on show their best and the forward-line should assist them to keep the Australians on tenterhooks by attacking frequently.

"The Pakistani defence did well in the first two matches but against Great Britain and South Africa, the defence looked disoriented. Meanwhile, forward-line also failed to support them well," he said.

The fact that the forward-line has started scoring field goals, Sardar believed it was a good sign going into the all important match.

"The players should go all out to win their match. Australians play open and attacking game like us and therefore our team will also have a good chance to beat the hot favourites," he said.

But the Australians will also be determined to win the match as they are also in dire need of three points to confirm their place in the semi-finals after drawing against hosts Great Britain.

Australia and Great Britain hold the top two positions in the group with eight points each while Pakistan are at third ahead of Spain and South Africa with seven points.

"We have defeated Argentina in the tournament and Argentina has drawn its match against Australia. So I think there is hope for us that our team beats Australia and qualifies for the semi-finals and let’s pray that our team win and qualify for the semi-finals," Hasan said.

Meanwhile, another legendary Olympian Samiullah said that there is little hope for the underdogs to beat the Australians or either pull a draw as Australia is undoubtedly the best team playing in the tournament.

"Fingers are crossed for the team but the chances are low as Australia is the best team competing in the tournament. In order to win, each player must give out their personal best to win the match," Samiullah said.