Pakistan backed to beat India in Hockey Asia Cup
Chief Selector of the Pakistan hockey team, Manzoor Junior, believes that the Green Shirts have the ability to beat any team in the upcoming Asia Cup including India.
Pakistan will face India on the opening day of the Asia Cup, May 23, which will take place in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta. The final of the event will be played on June 1.
“Be it any platform, the match against our neighbours [India] always leads to pressure on both sides,” Manzoor was quoted as saying by Daily Express.
There is a massive gulf in FIH rankings of the two sides, India are ranked third while Pakistan are in 18th place.
Manzoor also believes that the recent European tour, where Pakistan played against Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, will also help the Green Shirts.
Pakistan are slotted in Pool A alongside arch-rivals India, Indonesia and Japan. Meanwhile, Pool B includes Bangladesh, Oman, Korea and Malaysia.
After facing India in their first match, Pakistan will clash with Indonesia on May 24. Their final group match will be against Japan on May 26.
“We can qualify for the World Cup by winning one match each against India and Japan,” he added.
It must be noted that the top three teams of the Asia Cup will qualify for next year’s FIH World Cup.
The sequence of Super4s pool matches will be confirmed upon completion of matches in pools A and B.
India are the defending champions as they won the last edition in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during 2017.