Pakistan coach Roelant Oltmans says India were by far the best side in the Asian Games and should be disappointed to end their campaign with a below-par bronze medal.
Oltmans, who was sacked as India coach last year, was appointed Pakistan coach in March. “They are by far the best team in Asia. It was surprising that they lost to Malaysia (in the semis). They should be disappointed,” Oltmans told PTI after India beat Pakistan 2-1 in the third place play-off.
Asked why Malaysia have proved to be tricky opponents for world number five India, who happens to have an upper hand against Pakistan of late, Oltmans said: “They should not have lost to Malaysia but the problem of conceding late goals is common with all Asian teams.
“It is disappointing to lose to India today. I think we were better in the third and fourth quarter. But is still early days (for the development of the team). We are trying to build a proper structure and put Pakistan hockey back on track,” said the Dutchman.
Oltmans is someone who knows a lot about the current crop of players. A lot of people may think the culture in India and Pakistan is alike but Oltmans doesn’t think so. “The two countries are completely different. The biggest difference is the religion. It is not a negative neither a positive. It is what it is,” he said.
Like Oltmans, former Pakistan player Rehan Butt was too surprised that India lost to Malaysia. “It is a big surprise. You guys should figure out soon why Malaysia is troubling you so much. You have to analyse. India is the best team in Asia but today’s match was very competitive. I think the best match of the tournament. But we are sad as we had targeted at least a third place finish,” Butt said.