LAHORE: The Asian Champions Trophy being in progress in Kuantan, Malaysia will see one of the high-octane hockey clashes when Pakistan take on arch-rivals India on that is going to be played later today.
Defending champions Pakistan were off to a poor start when they lost their first match to hosts Malaysia 2-4. However, they gained some respect when they edged South Korea 1-0 in the second match and look better poised to take on the neighbours in an expectedly tense clash.
Talking to Dawn, Olympians Tauqeer Dar, Danish Kaleem and Mohammad Saqlain termed India hot favourites against Pakistan in Sunday’s clash of the Asian Champions Trophy.
Tauqeer, a member of Pakistan team that won gold in Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, said Pakistan will have to prove their mettle by putting in some extra-ordinary effort against a much improved Indian side.
“Indians are strong on paper as they have made huge investments in hockey in the recent past which makes them tough competitors for Pakistan players who could only triumph by playing attacking hockey and cause an upset,” he said.
“Pakistan will have to work rigorously to raise a strong team for the next year’s World Cup qualifying rounds,” maintained the former Olympian.
On the other hand, the 1994 World Cup-winning team member Danish expressed hope that the match will be good contest and Pakistan will give tough time to India. “Pakistan will have to cash in on the scoring opportunities if they want to have favourable result against the Indians,” said Danish. “The only way to victory for Pakistan is to play attacking game and in my opinion, it will be a good match.”
Former captain Saqlain termed the Indians as favorites in the high-octane clash since they had been faring very well during the last one year in international hockey.
Agreeing with Tauqeer on adopting the strategy of playing attacking game against the Indians, Saqlain maintained that a fine ratio of penalty-corner conversion will also be crucial for Pakistan to win the match.