PFF arranged a first practice game for the Pakistan national team preparing itself for the 2010 Asian Games today at Punjab Stadium with a 3:30 PM kick-off time. The visiting side was a local team from Lahore’s Shalimar area that may not have been a real challenge to national XI but did just enough to show how rusty and practice-needing it was!
This was Graham Roberts’ first unofficial game as part of the coaching staff, working alongside head coach Akhtar Mohiuddin
Pakistan XI ultimately won the game 4-0 but the visitors did not do much to test the national side that much. FPDC staff member Gauhar Mahmood Azeem once again, alongside another FPDC fanatic Asjad Saleemi as cameraman, were present to see the game and managed to get some video footage from the game. Here is his analysis of the game as presented on FPDC forum thread about the Asian Games:
Oh my does Graham Roberts have a job on his hand, today he must have found out how much work is needed.
Roberts and Co. arranged a camera man to record the whole game for analysis afterwards. The man watched the whole game by the touch line and the interest was there to be seen.
The first half saw a couple of excellent through balls through the centre, one of them led to a goal. Great understanding between the central mids and the lone forward was evident. The striker from KRL(essa’s cousin, dont know his name yet) did not finish well and couldnt reach or finish 4 or 5 really good crosses. The left winger abbas did really well and his understanding with the full back was evident. good crosses, passes and penetration from the man. the right wing this half was impotent and unaffective. The defence wasnt tested at all and the opposition was mediocre although they had two ex internationals. The fitness levels of a couple of players was questionable. A new diet routine by the team has only just been started to help the team in that regard.
Coach Akhtar Khan blasted the team at half time and was focusing on improving the movement and positioning.Jaffar Khans delivery was questioned by Akhtar and his understudy was brought on for the second half. Akhtar Khan is the boss and he was calling the subs and all the shots while Roberts was giving his views and analysis to the team in a fine manner and was inspiring the team and bucking them up. He was seen demonstrating the defenders how to head clear a ball out of danger.
The second half saw the other team run out of energy and the national team dominating. Three further goals and an evident improvement down the right wing was seen. That due to personell change. Second half saw an increase in long balls but they were mostly through the midfield not the defence. The defence was poor this half. They made a mess of a couple of clearances, gave away a free header on a corner and one on a cross. Cause of concern for sure but thankfully roberts can handle that.
After the game Jaffar Khan told us that this is only the start, the performance was not up to the standards the team expects but as this was their first game together at the camp some mistakes were bound to happen. He is surely expecting an improvement.
Roberts told the team after the game, ”Tougher challenges are to come young lads.”
The game had some positives such as the good play through the middle, not conceding (even at a low level) and that the team had a good run-out. Tougher challenges are required and the team must step up. The agents said they have seen much better performances in training. That is what is required, the team needs to do it in the games and do it at the big time.
Roberts will sit down with the video from the game, analyse it and will surely help the team ESPECIALLY the defence to improve. He is helping the team psychologically as all the players we talked to literally love him, respect him, think of him as a legend and are keen to learn.
Special thanks to footballpakistan.com lover Asjad Saleemi for helping with everything.
(Apologies I dont know all the players well enough yet, but that will come with time)
Some second half action
Post-match Interview with Abbas Ali
Some pics courtesy of Asjad Saleemi.