The Hero of India’s Gold Medal winning Hockey Team at the 2014 Asian Games P.R. Sreejesh has revealed that the ferocious Pakistani crowd continuously chanting, “Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Zindabad” brought out the best in him during the all important Penalty shootouts in the Finals of the competition.
Sreejesh became the as he denied Pakistan twice in the shootout. During a fecilitation ceremony, he said that “Pakistan fans definitely outnumbered Indians during the match there (Incheon). Chants of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ were echoing all over but these chants in fact, helped me in becoming more alert.”A match against Pakistan is never an easy prospect – especially for goalkeepers in a penalty shootout. We can either become heroes or zeroes”.
Sreejesh admitted that the match for gold was more than just a hockey encounter. “Pakistan are definitely our main rivals. We do respect the players but on the field, we push ourselves even harder to get that win. I am sure they do the same against us. Victory against them has a special meaning,” he said. “All through the match, I kept telling myself: ‘Come on Sreejesh, hold on, hold on.’ And it worked.”
He also admitted that his experience to guard the Indian goal had helped him during the finals. “Before the final, I watched the video clips of the Pakistan’s victory in the semi-final against Malaysia as part of my preparation. That helped me a lot in understanding how our rival’s strikers move and which angle they look to create goal during the shootout,” said Sreejesh.