by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Police on Sunday created history as they won their maiden National Games men’s football event title when they whipped Pakistan Air Force (PAF) 3-0 in the final at the Ayub Stadium Quetta on Sunday.
In front of the jam-packed venue, Police did a fantastic job to beat a resourceful PAF being coached by Pakistan’s head coach Shehzad Anwar.
Mohammad Hanif provided Police lead in the 14th minute. Abdul Wasay doubled his team’s lead in the 20th minute before landing his second and third goal for his side in the 75th minute to seal a superb win.
Police had lost to PAF in their group game 0-1. Police’s coach cum manager Sardar Rahim was extremely happy with his team’s maiden crown in the Games. “I am very happy today. It’s a well-deserved victory,” Rahim told ‘The News’ after his side’s win.
“You know I build the team by myself. For this event we had taken six players from Peshawar ad four from Punjab while the rest were from Balochistan,” Rahim said.
“We had lost to PAF 1-0 in our league show and today we came against them with a certain plan which paid dividends. We marked their top players throughout and struck three goals in the process,” he said.
PAF coach Shehzad Anwar said his side squandered chances. “It was a good game but I will credit Police who played really well and converted their chances. We squandered our chances in the start as well as towards the end,” he said.
“It’s my experience when you beat a team in the league group it will beat you in the knock-out stage,” said Shehzad, also an AFC’s pro license coach.
Meanwhile, Balochistan’s men’s team took bronze when they downed Army 4-3 in penalty shootout. In the regulation and extra time, the game was evenly poised without any goal. However, Balochistan kept their cool in the penalty shootout, scoring four goals and conceding just three to finish at the victory podium which is a rare achievement in the presence of departmental teams which invest heavily in their brigade.
Balochistan’s captain Rajab Ali was happy with the achievement. “You know Army were a tough side but we did well in all departments,” Rajab told ‘The News’.
“In the penalty shootout we did extremely well. The credit goes to our goalkeeper Yasir who made a couple of diving saves which turned the table,” Rajab said.
“It’s a great moment for us as being a provincial side, offering tough time to a strong department is not a bad effort,” Rajab said.
Meanwhile, Army were crowned champions of the women’s football event when they defeated WAPDA 4-3 in their final crucial game.
Army, who at one stage were 3-1 down, made a remarkable recovery, hitting three successive goals to achieve a big win.
Sanober struck twice in the fifth and 11th minutes to put WAPDA 2-0 ahead. Hajra reduced the deficit for Army in the 38th minute and at half time WAPDA were leading 2-1. Eleven minutes into the second half WAPDA struck again through Fatima to go 3-1 ahead and it seemed that it would be extremely difficult for Army to bounce back.
But they proved everyone wrong and struck three goals on the trot to seal a fantastic 4-3 win and thus the title.
Hajra hit her second for Army in the 57th minute before Rameen hit one in the 60th minute to level the score. Zahmena struck the winner in the stoppage time to pull off the biggest win for her side.