The Green Shirts were eliminated from the Asian Games semifinals in Hangzhou, China, on Monday when the Japan hockey team beat Pakistan 3-2. China had to beat Japan in their last group stage game to stay in the running for the semifinals, but they failed.
Pakistan hockey team exits Asian Games semis
India scored the first goal, which put the Men in Green ahead in the fifth minute. But Japan quickly tied the game with two goals in the sixth and seventeenth minutes, scored by Tanaka Kaito and Fukuda Kentaro.
In the 28th minute, Fujishima Raiki made it 3-1 in favour of Japan. But soon after, Arbaz Ahmad scored a goal that brought Pakistan back into the game. Even though both teams looked like they would score more goals in the last quarter, Japan won 3-2. Pakistan will now play the third-placed team in Pool B on October 6 for fifth and sixth place.
“I apologise to the nation for this huge defeat against India. We have never lost with such a big margin against India,” Saeed said.
“I was a team member when we defeated India 7-1 in the Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1982. Though we were expecting defeat against a powerful Indian team ranked 3rd in the world, we never thought of losing with such a huge margin.”
“We don’t even have the required support staff with us. Other teams have eight to ten-member staff and we hardly have two to three,” he said.
“You cannot make your player utilise their talent in the best possible way. These players don’t have any financial security which haunts their progress,” he said.
“There should be a set amount for hockey development in Pakistan with every penny to be made accountable. India invests over Rs2 billion on hockey alone each year and we don’t have any set amount for hockey development or for players’ financial security.”