Hasan satisfied with team’s show in Palestine [The News]

Hasan satisfied with team’s show in Palestine [The News]

Sports Correspondent – The News

KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s assistant coach Hasan Baloch said on Friday that the current young lot which played in Palestine had the potential and would improve before the Asian Games, to be held in South Korea from September 19 to October 4.

“The team showed spark in Palestine as they not only played with good techniques but also showed a lot of fighting spirit and these are healthy signs,” Hasan told ‘The News’ in an interview. “Asian Games are a tough assignment but I hope if the team got a few more international matches it would put in its best in the continental event,” he said.

Hasan, who handled the team in Palestine along with Tanvir Ahmed and Asghar Anjum in the absence of head coach Mohammed Shamlan, said although they lost 0-3 to Palestine in their last league game, it was the best match his side played in the tournament.

“I think in the entire tournament our team played the best in the game against Palestine. The team played according to a plan but a few mistakes in the deep harmed us. We still could have played a draw had our frontline not missed so many chances which came their way,” Hasan recalled.

In the Al-Nakba Football tournament held in Nablus and al-Ram from May 10 to 19, Pakistan had crushed Sri Lanka 3-0 in their first match before going 0-1 down against a higher-ranked Jordon in their second show.

Needing a win to qualify for the final, the Green-shirts went down miserably against the hosts Palestine who then edged Jordon 1-0 in the final to lift the trophy.

“After losing to Palestine when I went for a press conference everyone was praising our team. They were of the opinion that Pakistan was a young side and the way it gave tough time to Palestine was remarkable,” Hasan said.

About the performance of his team against tough Jordon, Hasan said it was a wonderful game. “You know, Jordon is a good footballing nation and the way we troubled them was remarkable. Had we not conceded a penalty in the start the result could have been different,” said Hasan.

Pakistan’s Bahraini coach Mohammed Shamlan was not with the team as he had not been issued the permit by Israel.

But while staying in Jordon he kept communicating with his support staff on phone. “Yes, Shamlan was in contact with us. We used to discuss with him the strategy before every match,” said Hasan.

When asked what the response of Shamlan was when Pakistan conceded three goals against Palestine, Hasan said: “He was not happy. He said it was too high a margin.”

Pakistan played their matches on artificial turfs in Palestine but Hasan said it did not affect his team’s performance. “Our team is not used to playing on such pitches, but in Palestine I did not see at any stage that our players ever felt any fatigue. The basic reason behind it was that we had mostly young players. Before our first game against Sri Lanka we had a few training sessions on an artificial turf. That helped us,” Hasan said.

He was also stopped at the Jordon-Israel border. “I had the visa but in spite of it I was stopped at the immigration at the border. It was after two hours that I was given my passport,” Hasan revealed.

Israel also did not issue permit to the whole Iraqi team, five players of Jordon and a few players of Sri Lanka. This created great problems for the organisers.

When asked about the induction of foreign players ahead of Asiad, Hasan said: “It is the duty of Shamlan to form the side but I don’t think he will pick any foreigner for the Asian Games as our current lot is improving with the passage of time and may turn out to be a better side in future,” Hasan said.