Players and fans of Pakistan go delirious after the team overcame rivals Bangladesh in the tournament finals 5-3 to be crowned as continental champions (photo by Darren Ho/VOXSPORTS).
Over four grueling days of competition in Singapore at the Sengkang Sports and Recreation Centre, ten teams battled it out for supremacy as they locked horns for the coveted championship for bragging rights in Asia.
This year’s competition saw teams from Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Malaysia, favorites Pakistan and host nation Singapore take part in what would be a thrilling tournament for spectators as well as hockey fans.
Much was also expected from the host nation as they fielded a strong team and were looking to score a top five finish at this year’s event.
This was not to be as nerves got the better of the Republic’s boys and they crashed to a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh who proved to be a force to be reckoned with during the tournament on the opening day.
As they progressed through the tournament, they had a better showing despite losing 3-1 to the South Koreans (who were champions of the U-18 Boys Asia Cup in 2012) and a fine display saw them ease past Kazakhstan 12-1. However, they fell short against our rivals and neighbours Malaysia as the latter forced their way to a 7-1 victory.
In the 7th and 8th placing match, Singapore was not to be denied in what was probably their performance of the tournament as they brushed aside China 8-5 to restore the Republic’s pride.
The team of the tournament, Pakistan displayed why they were favorites as they dispatched their opponents with relative ease with double digit scores and commanding performances. Even against Malaysia who were expected to give them a hard fight were easily brushed aside 6-0 in the group stages.
As the tournament reached its climax, Bangladesh and Pakistan prepared to lock horns as both teams had remained unbeaten during the run up to the finale in front of a packed stadium of Bangladeshi and Pakistan fans.