KARACHI: Captain of the World XI team Roderick Weusthof heaped praise on the young Pakistani players, who according to him have the skills to become really competitive at the international level with a bit more exposure.
The visiting side was comfortable winners in the opening game of the two-match series which was played at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium in Karachi on Friday.
It was the Green Shirts who went a goal up in the first quarter from Adeel Latif’s strike. The World XI team tried hard to level the score, but the home side’s defense stood firm.
The second quarter was also frustrating for the visitors, who even after numerous chances couldn’t break Pakistan’s defensive line.
However, in the third quarter, the visitors finally fought their way back into the game, thanks to the strike from skipper Weusthof, who turned the penalty corner in the 33rd minute.
From there one, the visitor’s did not give anything away to the home side, and scored four more before the game ended courtesy strikes from Weusthof, Grant Schubert, Philip Meulenbroek and David Alegre.
After the match, the 35-year-old Weusthof, while talking to the media, appreciated the young Pakistan team and urged the crowd in Lahore to come in big numbers and support them.
“The boys played really well in the first quarter,” said Weusthof. “They were faster than us and also skillful too. I have seen few really skilled players who can be the future of Pakistan hockey. All they need is a bit more experience. I hope they learn from this match and take it to Lahore to give us a tough time and win.”
He added: “We really enjoyed here in Karachi, felt safe and it was really nice to see people still have the spirit for hockey. It is really important that foreign teams come here and play with Pakistan to see how wonderful nation they are. I believe if people cheer for their team [in Lahore], it will help them in producing a much better result.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Captain Junaid Manzoor said the result is down to the lack of experience in the home team. “We dominated the first quarter by using our skills and fitness,” he said while talking The Express Tribune. “But then the experienced players of the World XI team, who have gold medals to their names had the hold over us as they knew what we were going to do, but it was really good match and we’ve learned alot from it.”
He added: “We are still up beat and have lot of energy for the second match. The World XI players have given us some important tips which we will try to implement in the next match and produce a better result.”