Thursday, December 27, 2012


That seems to be the question mark in minds of many after Malaysia had taken a 4-0 lead over India in the AHF Champions Trophy match in Doha last night.

Malaysia needed six goals to pip Pakistan for a place in the final, and the Pakistanis were incensed when Malaysia scored four within 38 minutes, so much so there was an angry exchange of words between Indian and Pakistani coaches.

Pakistan’s 5-2 result meant that Malaysia knew exactly how much they had to score against India to qualify – six goals to be precise. Dark horse Malaysia, who had held Pakistan to a 3-3 draw earlier in the tournament, were all over the Indian territory right from the word go and they pumped in three goals – in the 18th, 20th and 27th minute before going into the breather leading 3-0.

Soon after the change of ends, India conceded another goal and now the scoreboard read 4-0. Suddenly an impossible target looked achievable. Several eyebrows were raised following the dramatic turnaround of events and chants of cheating and match fixing echoed around the ground.

Read the quotes lifted from The Gulf Timres and draw your own conclusions.

Malaysian coach Paul Revington also came in support of the Indian team saying, “I don’t think India was deliberately back paddling at any stage. I had given my team instructions to go all out and they did that. We piled on the pressure on India. It was unfortunate that we had a bad match against China or else we would have been through to the finals. We played well to even draw against Pakistan,” said Revington adding that, a third place would be a good rewards for the team after coming this far.

Pakistan coach Rasool also felt there was something fishy and he left the VVIP box, heading straight to the India dugout and was seen exchanging words (See picture).

Trailing 4-0, India replaced their custodian P Srejeesh with PT Rao and then the team showed some spine. They rallied back with three goals – in the 48th, 61st and 63rd minutes. And with every goal, Pakistan’s chances of qualifying brightened and the negative chants from the Pakistani supporters also stopped. Even the Pakistan team members, who were watching the game from the players’ enclosure, were seen getting behind the Indian players as they scored back. India eventually lost the match 5-3 and Pakistan made it through to the finals on better goal average than Malaysia.

As coach Rasool walked past the India dugout after the match, few of Indian players was seen giving him a mouthful. The Indian team physio Sreekanth Iyengar was heard saying, “Sir, we didn’t expect this from you. You are such a senior player. Is this how you talk to our coach? You guys are talking about playing Test series with this type of behaviour. You saw how we fought back in the second half.”

Rasool though choose not to respond this time, when probed by journalists later said, “What should I say? You all saw what was happening. It is for you all to judge. They were not giving 100 percent.”

India coach Nobbs speaking about the incident said, “Our players took things a bit lightly at the beginning. I think they were already thinking ahead after being in the finals. Malaysia is a strong team and they made us pay. We had to work hard for our goals.

“As far as Rasool goes, I don’t want to talk much. He behaved in a very unprofessional manner.”