Junior Hockey Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan, India to lock horns today

Match crucial for Pakistan hockey team to qualify for semi-finals

Syed Intikhab Ali
Players photographed during a match against Thailand in Salalah, Oman on Match 24, 2023. — Twitter/@asia_hockey
Players photographed during a match against Thailand in Salalah, Oman on Match 24, 2023. — Twitter/@asia_hockey  

KARACHI: Following two successive wins in their first two match of Junior Hockey Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan are confident of doing well against a strong Indian side in their Pool A encounter in Salalah, Oman on Saturday.

The match is crucial for the Green Shirts to qualify for the semi-finals. 

In the first two games against much weaker sides, Pakistan defeated Chinese Taipei by 15-1 and Thailand 9-0. 

These matches gave the debutant players some much-needed exposure before the key clashes against India and Japan.

A member of Pakistan team management in Oman, when contacted on Friday, said that the boys are not feeling the pressure and are confident and motivated for Saturday's clash. 

“As far as skills and talent are concerned, Pakistani players are not behind any top team. The players gained a lot of confidence by scoring several goals in the first two games. The players are implementing the game plan given by the team’s consultant Roland Oltmans, who is training them as per today’s requirement,” the member revealed.

"Whatever the boys learnt in the training and practice matches so far, they have demonstrated well. The drag flickers Sufyan Khan, Arbaz and the forward Abdul Rehman played well in the first two games," the member said.

"Now their big test will be in the next two games against India and Japan, in which we will have to be mentally strong and try to avoid mistakes." India are the fifth-ranked team, and even their juniors have had a lot of international exposure.

However, Pakistan's team management is upbeat. 

"We are not feeling the pressure considering the strength of the Indian side and the well-equipped facilities and international matches they get. At this level, anything can happen. We will go with a big heart. We also have marked their weaknesses," the official added.