Navy gunning for National Games football gold

Lahore, 22 December : Pakistan Navy coach Khalid Zubair Shaukat has promised his team will go for a high-tempo attacking style to win National Games football gold for the first time. Navy will take on Railways on 26 December and Army on 27 December at Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad.

“It’s a must-win event as other services had already won the gold and we’re prepared for that,” said Zubair whose side mustered 42 points in 28 games of Pakistan Premier Football League 2010 so far. Pakistan Air Force won the gold in 1982 while five-times winners Army did the job in 1995,1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007. Navy had never won the gold in National Championship and National Games.

“The team is set up to score goals. Tactically it will be slightly different. We’re nearby at home (Islamabad), we need to win the two games in Group-A and the emphasis will be on attack.

“We’ve got a couple of secret weapons and I’ve said to the players, the forwards in particular, that they’ve got a licence to thrill.

The Games opened at Peshawar amid color and pageantry on Sunday in the backdrop of country’s declining standard among all Olympic sports as well as cricket. Over three thousand athletes from across the country including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, assisted by a good number of technical officials, assembled together to show true sportsmanship. National Games reflect the overall standard of country’s sports. The performance of athletes during the next couple of days will be true indicator how seriously they have trained for the event.

“We will be playing with a quick tempo with Asif Mehmood, Sajjad Ahmed, Asif Bakhsh, Nomi Martin Gill, upcoming Rizwan Tanoli upfront. We’ve got fantastically quick and athletic players in every position and that gives us a head start, said Zubair who also coached Navy that won the National Football Challenge Cup at Karachi 2008 and he added that in National Games, Group-A is comprised of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Railways.

WAPDA , eighth times National Champion who won the National Games at Minto Park in 1992, are being bracketed in Group-B with Pakistan Air Force, winner of first ever National Games football show in 1982 at Qayyum Stadium, and host Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.