LAHORE: An improved-looking Pakistan football team on Wednesday tasted their second successive defeat when they went down to Kenya 1-0 in the Four-Nation Cup at Stade de Cote d’Or, Saint Pierre, in Mauritius.
Starting the show with a lot of resolve Pakistan were put on the back foot by strong Kenya with fast-paced football which featured subtle touches and short passes.
Kenya took the lead in the 18th minute when Shumah Moses landed a soft one with Denmark-based goalkeeper Yousuf Butt doing nothing significant while trying to block the Kenyan player on the top right corner after a huge defence blunder.
At half time Kenya were leading 1-0. Following a couple of rallies after the breather Kenya came close to adding to their tally but their player’s drive from the top of the area just missed the crossbar.
In the 80th minute, Pakistan launched a forceful rally but Otis Khan failed to score. In the 86th minute Kenya had a chance but Pakistan’s defence did a fine job to avert the danger. Former Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic praised Pakistan team for the way it played against Kenya.
“I am happy with the way Pakistan played against Kenya today. Kenya is a better side and Pakistan team played with high level of resolve,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ from Serbia. However, he said that Pakistan’s attack lacked sting. “The attack should be quick. If you reduce the pace the defence of the opposition will find it easy to block the striker. I think Pakistan played Hasan Bashir upfront. He is a fine player but he is ageing and there you need pace to unsettle the opposition defence,” Zavisa said.
“I think Pakistan should have played with two strikers. Still I am happy the team did well against Kenya. Pakistan team needs more exposure and head coach Shehzad Anwar should add to the squad by picking some more home-grown players via national championships,” Zavisa said.
About chances of Pakistan in the SAFF Cup to be held in India later this month Zavisa was not quite hopeful. “I think both India and Kuwait who are in Pakistan’s group are tough and have got a lot of exposure. I don’t think Pakistan can move into the second stage of that event. Yes, Pakistan have the potential and if given proper exposure they can show improvement in future,” Zavisa said.
Pakistan had been beaten by Mauritius 3-0 in their opener the other day. Pakistan will now meet Djibouti in their last match on June 17. After that game Pakistan will move to India to feature in the SAFF Cup which will be held in Bengaluru from June 21 to July 4.