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Brunei humbled by Pakistan in women’s hockey challenge
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Brunei Darussalam’s Nurul binti Mohd Salleh (right) passes through a Pakistan player at the 3rd Women’s Asian Hockey Challenge yesterday. – FADHIL YUNUS

BRUNEI Darussalam national women’s hockey team completed their campaign at the 3rd Women’s Asian Hockey Challenge in a 4-0 defeat to Pakistan at the Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex yesterday.

The national women’s hockey team were unable to score a single goal in the entire tournament but showed good fight to keep the score by a single goal in the first half.

However, three goals in the second half gave Pakistan a fair reflection of their commanding performance who will surely be continuing another busy outing tonight in the final against the well-rested Hong Kong.

The Stingers had done well to shut out Pakistan for nearly half an hour and escaped the powerful drive from Zakia Nawaz which flew just wide.

Pakistan captain Ambreen Arshad forced a good save from the Brunei goalkeeper Fatimah before the latter pulled a smart save from a reverse stick shot by Nafeesa Anwar.

However, there was little the goalkeeper could do as the captain guided the ball home from a scramble in the shooting circle.

Pakistan’s Mayira Sabir has been a constant menace for the Brunei defence all tournament and was just too quick as she won a penalty corner as a result from her individual brilliance.

Although there were some similar patterns of play from the hosts which allowed the opponents to apply maximum pressure, there were instances where they came close of scoring the elusive first goal as proven with the succession of penalty corners.

Pakistan doubled the advantage and looked to be heading into another easy win as Khalsoom Shahzadi drove a fierce low shot home.

Ambreen added her second of the game in the 52nd minute before Sehrish completed the scoring a minute from time.

Brunei Darussalam’s captain Rokiah Kesut explained a change in strategy where she moved from her original starting position in midfield to forward to boost the team’s threat in attack.

The tournament hosts had a mathematical chance to qualify for the final but the odds were heavily stacked against them following the double-digit defeat to Hong Kong.

“We were very energetic today but all of us know that we don’t have the chance to reach the final unless we beat Pakistan by a huge margin,” said the captain.

Despite their fate in the tournament already established before the start of the match, Rokiah indicated that they needed to play with their maximum effort in front of a home crowd.

“We have to do our best and we have to win at all costs. Overall, I’m happy with our performance today,” said Rokiah who took over the captaincy recently.

There were still concerns in terms of their fitness levels which may have contributed to the slow decline at the end of the game.

“I can say that our fitness levels are still not up to the standard but we changed our strategy a bit.

“Pakistan read our set plays and for the second penalty corner we changed a bit but there was no luck,” she concluded.

The national captain also shared that they will continue their training with their coach shifting his focus to the national men’s team who will be competing in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Pakistan head coach Muhammad Khan was not pleased with the state of umpiring.

“I would not say much about the umpiring but it was a little bit not up to the standard. The decisions were not in favour of us because some fouls and warnings should have been given. They were giving surprises to the players as well,” he said in a post-match interview.

Khan also felt that his side should be awarded a penalty stroke as opposed to a penalty corner because an action which was deemed denying a clear opportunity without fair play was committed behind the goalkeeper.

The team endured a setback ahead of the final against Hong Kong with Nafeesa and Hamra suffering injuries.

Courtesy from Borneo Bulletin