ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Nov, 2016 ) : Former captain and legendary goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed has said that Pakistan hockey is moving in a positive direction and it is heartening that the country has started to produce goalkeepers after a long gap. "We've not been able to produce quality goalkeepers for quite some time. But now I see competition taking place among our goalies to earn a place in the national side. This is a very good sign for Pakistan hockey and I believe soon we'll have some really good goalkeepers," Mansoor told APP.
"The position of a goalkeeper has always remained very important. But in modern hockey its importance has increased quite significantly. Now we see that more and more matches are decided on the basis of goalkeepers' performance," he said. He pointed out that though Salman Butt was Pakistan's first choice goalkeeper in the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy tournament but when he failed to deliver in matches against traditional rivals India, hosts Malaysia and Japan, he was replaced by Amjad Ali in the semi-final against Malaysia.
Amjad displayed a great game and Pakistan managed to defeat Malaysia in the penalty shootout. "I believe there will be more competition among our goalkeepers in the future as there are a couple of other boys, who can become very good goalkeepers," he maintained. To a question he said that Pakistan players well in Asian Champions Trophy however they had not been consistent. I've seen some very good hockey from Pakistani players but they have not been consistent.
In all the matches they played in Malaysia I saw in one quarter they would display a superb game, while in the next they would look somewhat lazy. "This is mainly because they've less international exposure. I believe if they get more international experience they will learn how to remain consistent and finish the match," he added. "I also believe team skipper's absence also affected their performance. He (Irfan) is an experienced player. Had he been with the team, he would definitely have adopted a different strategy. "Secondly, if also affects you psychologically if your are featuring in an event without your captain", the former captain reckoned. Irfan had failed to feature in the event as his passport was with the British embassy and he could not get it back in time.