Islamabad, Feb 15 (IANS) A leading Pakistani daily on Monday hoped for the revival of hockey in the country after its team beat India in the South Asian Games hockey final.

An editorial “Hockey win” in the Dawn said that Pakistan’s “stunning, though unexpected, 1-0 victory over India in the South Asian Games hockey final at Guwahati has provided the beleaguered national sport with hopes of a revival, besides giving the country a chance to rejoice”.

“In a rare exhibition of focused hockey in a pressure-cooker situation, the Pakistan team held its nerve to beat its arch-rivals on their own turf in a closely contested final which deserves high praise,” it said.

The daily said that besides the performance, “the significance of the victory is underscored by the fact that Pakistan has managed to thwart the psychological factor of facing up to India in a final of a tournament, after ending up on the losing side on many such occasions in the recent past”.

It said added that in cricket and snooker too, Pakistani teams have found it too difficult to overcome a mental block of sorts while facing India in the finals of nearly all major events, despite winning league or round matches against them.

The daily went on to say that “any notions about the win reflecting an upward trend in Pakistan hockey – the team has not qualified for the next Olympics – need not be entertained”.

“While the new PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation) set-up continues to emulate its predecessors by making tall claims about rebuilding the national team with efforts at the grass-root level and through the new academies, hockey in Pakistan continues to grapple with a number of negative factors.

“These include political wrangling, ego tussles, lack of exposure and the debilitating state of infrastructure.”

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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