Karachi: History will side with Pakistan against the archrival India in the bronze medal match between the two-sides in Champions Trophy to be played today (Sunday) in Melbourne (Australia), feels former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh.
“Pakistan has won Champions Trophy title three times in the past while the Indians have only one bronze medal to their name, which they claimed back in 1982. So I think the history favours Pakistan and we will have an edge in the third place play-off match,” Shahnaz told PPI.
However, Shahnaz added that the team-management have to do a lot of work to lift the morale and confidence of the team before the bronze medal match.
“The team-management must lift the morale of the team before the match as the players must be disheartened after a 5-2 thrashing from Netherlands. The players should forget the defeat they conceded from Netherlands and should go all out to win the match against India,” he said.
But the former Olympian was critical of the team’s performance in the semifinal and said that the team played without unity in the match and it was one of the reasons the green-shirts lost the chance to qualify for the summit clash of the high-profile Champions Trophy.
“Pakistan did a lot of mistakes during the match. The players displayed individual show and gave a lot of gap in the defence for the Dutch players to penetrate and do the damage, which eventually sank Pakistan,” he said.
He added that the aging team got exhausted quickly during the match after an exhausting encounter earlier against Germany.
“I have pointed out it before that the contemporary hockey requires a lot of stamina, which our aging team lacks in. youngsters should have been preferred for long term results for the tournament as an aging team could not consistently perform in extensive tournaments, such as Champions Trophy,” he said.
He added that the green-shirts were completely out of their wits in the second half because the team had exhausted and had not recovered after the hectic match against Germany.
“Their body language showed that there was energy left in them to tackle the Netherlanders,” he said.
However, Shahnaz praised goalie Imran Butt and said that if Imran had not performed well, Pakistan might have conceded some more goals and the Dutch tally of goals could have reached double figures.