We need to score more goals, concedes Pak football captain [The News]

We need to score more goals, concedes Pak football captain [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

LAHORE: Pakistan football team’s Denmark-based captain and seasoned striker, Hassan Bashir, has said that they will need to improve their goal-scoring capability if they are to win matches.

“As a striker I think we should focus on the offensive as we scored just one goal in the last six games and I think that’s embarrassing in my opinion,” Hassan told ‘The News’ in an interview.

“I expect very much from myself. I know when I came to the team we had that goal-scoring problem back in 2012 and 2013. When I joined with Mohammad Ali and the other part of the offensive, carrying Kaleemullah and Saddam Hussain, we started scoring goals. You know what we did before. If you ask me I think the biggest disappointment was our offensive in the last six games we played in Mauritius and India. We should have scored more goals but we did not have the quality against some of the teams,” said Hassan, who plays for Tarnby FF, which plays in the Denmark Series, the fourth-tier football league system in Denmark.

“We were also unlucky in some of the games. I should have scored against Djibouti, we should have scored against Nepal, we had a big chance against Nepal; we had a big chance against Kuwait. I did some mistakes, the defenders done, midfielders did some mistakes, the coach did some mistakes and like that also the goalkeepers made some mistakes. You know we are team and we cannot blame a certain player for something,” he said.

Asked about the failure of goalies in the four-nation series in Mauritius and SAFF Cup in India, Hassan defended both Yousuf Butt and Saqib Hanif.

“I don’t agree on the football part as both Yousuf Butt and Saqib Hanif have been part of the team for the last ten years now and the most experienced players they are. I think goalkeepers have a very tough job, sometimes very unlucky job, they can have an amazing match and then they have one bad action and media, fans and the people talk about,” he said.

“I am very happy with the goalkeepers as I have been with them for the last ten years. They have saved us many times in the past and they will do again in the future,” Hassan said.

Hassan said that experience was the biggest lack in these last six games.

“I think experience was our biggest lack in these six games. I was sent some messages from journalists who told me that Nepal was the team which was mostly of our level. They had around 600 international games in the squad and we had 150 and almost half of them were me, Yousuf Butt and Saqib Hanif. So it is quite obvious that we would get in trouble. Also I hope that all of the players in the squad especially the ones playing in Pakistan they get some games time on the club level I know the issues in Pakistan football,” he said.

“I think that is the one very big point according to the past that our players playing in Pakistan they don’t have game time and they are the players with big qualities, good players, highly talented but the game time, the match experience which is so crucial. We lack that. That’s the big issue in my opinion. I hope they get to play some decent club level football like we did in the past in the Pakistan Premier League. The PFF is also working on to get some players to play for Pakistan from abroad and inshaAllah I hope they get into the squad as well and improve the quality,” Hassan said.

Hassan said that it was wrong to expect from Pakistan on the recent tours of Mauritius and India.

“First of all I don’t think we failed because you only fail when you have expectations. And to be honest the media, the fans and all if they expected that we were going to win then I think the expectations were wrong,” he said.

“I have been with the team since long and I am talking with the experience. You cannot just stop football and then suddenly started again, you collect some players and then just expect us to win against the nations with better level. I don’t think we failed badly but of-course we lost. All players of the team are winners. According to our level, our quality, the quality of the opponents I don’t think that we failed,” he explained.

“I think we need consistency. We will have some games in September. We hope to play them with quite the same lot. Of-course we need consistency and its up-to our luck. As far as the World Cup Qualifiers are concerned I hope we draw with such team of our level. We can beat them InshaAllah. But honestly as far as I know the Pakistan’s luck we have been very unlucky as we could drew against the toughest teams in my opinion but hope for a good draw for the World Cup Qualifiers and consistency in the group,” he said. Hassan rubbished the notion that due to late joining of the foreign-based players the team does not get gelled ahead of any international assignment.

Hassan hoped if they get good draws they would be able to impress in the World Cup Qualifiers this October.

“We have to play so many matches which we can. There is only one window and two games in September and that’s the most we can play and I hope we will play them.

As I said earlier we have to get good draw. I hope we are drawn with a team which is of our level and which is realistic that we can beat and inshaAllah I have high hopes for the World Cup Qualifiers,” Hassan said. Pakistan will know about their opponents in the World Cup Qualifiers first round on July 27.

Published in The News, 23 July 2023