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Sunday June 16, 2024

Pakistan go down against Bahrain

By Our Correspondent
September 11, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying for the 2024 Under-23 Asian Cup ended on Saturday night when they went down to Bahrain 3-1 in their second round show of the Group D Qualifiers at Bahrain.

Both teams needed victory following opening day losses but it was Bahrain who settled faster, with midfielder Sayed Jawad Alawi putting them ahead in the 25th minute.

Alawi doubled Bahrain’s advantage four minutes into the second half with captain Husain Abdulkarim Abdulaziz netting their third just a minute later. Pakistan scored a consolation goal through Alamgir Ali Khan in the 71st minute but having lost 6-0 to Japan on Wednesday, their spirits had been down.

“Pakistan could have played much better had selection been unbiased,” former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail told The News after Pakistan’s another big loss. “Why is coach Shehzad Anwar playing Waleed repeatedly? When you have experienced player Shayak Dost who is an attacking player of domestic circuit they why is he not being played? Waleed never delivered in the last ten games,” Nasir said.

“You overlooked Zaid Umar in the midfield. Your selection is not good. Abdullah Shah played a game and got injured. If Waleed Jawaid advises head coach Shehzad Anwar so it shows how ridiculous it is. How can he advise a pro license coach? Waleed is a club level coach,” Nasir said. “It’s shameful,” he was quick to add.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa said that team did not play positive game. “The team lacked sting in its approach. It lacked strength in both attack and defence. The losing margin is unacceptable,” Essa told The News from Quetta.

“Coach plays a key role. I believe that the coach’s role is 70 percent as he forms the strategy and then implements it and also applies different tactics. Bahraini coach Salman Sharida and Mohammed Shamlan both delivered as Pakistan’s coaches. There is a need of a shrewd coach who can take solid decisions and at the right time,” said Essa, also an AFC License B coach.

He said the PFF NC has failed to deliver. “NC has completely failed to deliver. Look, it worked on senior team for one year in order to prepare it for the World Cup Qualifiers and now it is making changes in the coaching panel and trials are also being held for picking more players. It shows how unprofessional these people are who are destroying the country’s football. You cannot raise a team without your domestic football structure. We don’t have domestic football which is a big stumbling block in the way of our football development,” Essa said. Pakistan will now face Palestine in their last group game on Tuesday (tomorrow).