Monday, August 13, 2018

Asian Games: Pakistan dead serious..

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistan arrived in Jakarta on Friday for a one-week Asian Games camp before they play Thailand on Aug 20.
  Even though the players had complained that they did not receive a cent for the past six months and wanted to boycott the Games, but cool heads prevailed and they are the earliest team to acclimatise for the Games.
  Malaysia will only travel on Aug 16, and play their first match against Kazakhstan on Aug 20.
  "I believe Pakistan and Malaysia have the same game plan -- to beat each other and top Group A. And their early arrival will give them more time to settle down and acclimatise to the weather and food.
  "For us, Jakarta does not pose any problems of acclimatisation and everything suits us just fine," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The good part about the schedule is that Malaysia and Pakistan will play three other matches first before clashing head-on.
  "We will first play Kazakhstan, followed by Thailand and Bangladesh and it will give us enough time to get used to the playing surface before we play, what I expect, to be our toughest match in Group B.
  "However, we will not take other teams lightly and need to go for goals as well, because if the Pakistan match ends in a draw, we need the advantage to top the group," said van Huizen.
  India are the early favourites, and Malaysia must avoid them at all cost in the semi-finals.
  The world No 5 are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka Hong Kong and Indonesia.
  Malaysia are ranked 12th, while Pakistan 13th in the world.
  "Ranking wise, India are far ahead and are one of the favourites to play in the final. Pakistan is just one rung below us, and that's why they have taken extra precaution to have a week-long centralised camp at the tournament venue itself.
  "We are also prepared, as both the teams have played each other many times and we know their strengths and weaknesses," said van Huizen.
   Both the teams last met at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and the match ended 1-1. Malaysia went on to play in the fifth-sixth bracket and beat Scotland 2-1, while Pakistan played in the seventh-eighth bracket and beat Canada 3-1.