Draw for Pakistan feels like a win
Posted on 04/25/20 7:43 PM
India’s Sunil Sowmarpet falls over Pakistan’s Toseeq Arshad during their Comm Games hockey clash.When is a draw a win?
For the Pakistan men’s hockey team, it’s when coming back from 0-2 down to draw against India – after the siren – in their Commonwealth Games round-robin encounter.
There is always underlying emotion when these neighbouring countries play, and Saturday’s game saw four yellow two cards and two cautions issued.
The Indian lineup showed better pace and ball skills but, with team officials saying their prayers on the sideline, Ali Mubashar converted Pakistan’s eighth penalty corner to ensure the spirited encounter ended 2-2.
The video referral that led to the penalty corner was contentious and the mainly pro-Indian crowd was quick to voice its disappointment.
But not Pakistan coach Roelant Oltmans, who gave a wry smile when asked how it felt to draw with a team he previously coached.
Oltmans spent four years with the Indian team after being appointed high performance director in 2013 and then moving into senior coaching role.
“Of course it helps knowing India but I analyse every opponent,” Oltmans said.
“At halftime we were 2-nil down but we had our opportunities and told our boys we had to continue – I was sure we could keep pressure on them and we got quite a number of penalty corners.”
The Dutchman said India was a strong team, and so he had no trouble turning all his attention to Pakistan when he returned to the top job.
“The only thing important for me is to bring Pakistan back,” he said. “Mentally the boys felt they were strong to come back and they were so focused. Lucky after the final whistle to score a goal, but agood decision from our players to ask for a referral.”
Pakistan, a three-time Olympic and four-time World Cup champion, failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and is currently ranked No. 13 in the world.
That’s well below eight-time Olympic gold medalist India, the highest ranked team in Asia at No. 6.