Hockey is the national game of Pakistan and there was a time that Pakistan Hockey team held almost every major title. Hockey team had never disappointed the nation and they were treated and respected as heroes. Olympic Games are a big event and for years Pakistan Hockey team dominated the field hockey.
Pakistan did not win any medals in the first two Olympic events which took place in 1948 (London) and 1952 (Helsinki) but it was understandable as the nation was still young and struggling to get on its feet. In the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne, Pakistan won its first Olympic honor; a silver medal for being the runners up in hockey while India clinched the gold medal. Pakistan got its first gold medal in the next event (1960) in Rome by defeating arch rivals India. Pakistan also got its bronze medal in wrestling in the same event.
In the next Olympic events held in Tokyo in 1964, Pakistan managed to win the silver medal while India got the gold. However in the 1968 Mexico Olympics Pakistan clinched the gold medal by beating Australia. In 1972 Munich Olympics Pakistan clinched the silver medal and this time it was defeated by Germany.
Pakistan lost mostly because of biased umpiring and a visibly upset and angry Pakistan team captain swung the medal on his shoe which resulted in the team being suspended and banned for four years . However the team was pardoned after an apology from the then President of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
The performance of the hockey team in the Montreal Olympics held in 1976 was a bit disappointing as the team ended third and won a bronze medal. The next Olympics were held in Moscow in 1980 but the Pakistani team did not participate in it, Pakistan was among the 60 countries that boycotted the games because of Soviet Union’s military invasion in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Hockey team made the nation proud in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by winning the gold medal. The next Olympic games were held in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. In this event Pakistan hockey team did not win any medal but boxer Syed Hussain Shah won the bronze medal in boxing thus saving the country’s blushes. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Pakistani team got the bronze medal.
Those who thought that a bronze in the 1992 Olympics was a disappointment did not know what lay ahead of them. From that events onwards, Pakistani hockey team has not earned any medal in fact its performance has plunged from average to poor. Pakistan went without medal in Atlanta Olympics (1996), Sydney Olympics (2000), Athens Olympics (2004), Beijing Olympics (2008) and London Olympics (2012). The team which once made the nation proud has now become an embarrassment.
Manzoor ul Hassan
Gojra a small town in the Faisalabad division has produced many hockey superstars; Manzoor ul Hasan being one of them.
Dubbed as Mr. Reliable and The Great Wall of China, Manzoor playing as a defender put up an impenetrable defense. He was dreaded and respected by his opponents for his skills and outstanding play. He scored 104 goals from 154 matches. He saved numerous goals against Pakistan making him the strong weapon of the Pakistan team. Manzoor ul Hasan together with Munnawar uz Zaman made a tough winning difficult to beat combination during the 70s era. In the 1982 World Cup Tournament, Manzoor’s performance was brilliant and can be easily called one of the best performances of his life.
He later coached the national team which won the silver medal in the World Cup held at Lahore. A players’ revolt forced him to step down from the post in 1996.
Samiullah Khan is a legendary hockey player from Pakistan. He played as a left winger and was famous for his speed, stamina and his crosses which often resulted in goals.
Known as the “Flying Horse”, Samiullah showed incredible agility on the hockey field and could tear through the opponent’s defense with ease. Samiullah played in 151 tournaments. On top of Samiullah’s impressive record are the silver medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, gold medal in Bangkok Asian Games in 1978, gold medal in the Asia Cup held in Karachi and gold in the New Delhi Asian Games. The latter two were played under his captaincy.
Samiullah retired from hockey in 2005 and served as the manager of the junior team.
Samiullah’s brother Kalimullah was a right winger and both brothers formed a menacing attacking line. Samiullah Khan till date is considered as one of the best hockey players in Pakistan. Samiullah Khan has been associated with hockey in Pakistan in one way or the other even after his retirement from international hockey. He is considered as a legend of his field. Many of Pakistan’s victories in the time when Samiullah Khan was a part of the team came through his brilliant performance. He is considered a legend in his own right in the world of Hockey.
Pakistan’s hockey team had many remarkable players; Akhtar Rasool was one of them. Akhtar Rasool played at the difficult position of centre forward. Sharp, technically sound and swift, Akhtar Rasool was a class in his own.
Akhtar Rasool was the son of a Dr. Ghulam Rasool Chaudary a hockey Olympian and an educationist. As long as he was a part of the hockey team, he did not let it down. He played a big part in many victories and was also the captain of the Pakistani team which won the World Cup in 1982. Akhtar Rasool enjoys the distinction of being the only player to feature on four World Cup Tournaments. He also played in three Olympic Games.
After retiring from cricket, Akhtar Rasool was elected the Chief of the PHF (Pakistan Hockey Federation). Here too he showed the same fiery spirit and worked diligently for the promotion of hockey at all levels and for the betterment of the players. He later joined politics. Despite the fact that Akhtar Rasool is not directly involved in Pakistan Hockey for some time now, he is still considered as an authority on the subject of growth of Hockey in Pakistan. He is one of Pakistan’s world cup winning captains.
Hanif Khan is another shining star on the horizon of Pakistan hockey. An aggressive forward, he was most feared by the defenders. His speed, aggression and versatility made him stand out and he was often referred to as the “Goal Scoring Machine”. This dashing forward learned to play hockey on the streets of his hometown, Karachi. He was a member of the national squad which one the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal. Soon after the Olympics, Hanif Khan like his other immensely talented and skilled team mates was forced to retire.
Hanif Khan was later recruited by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to coach the national side. Hanif Khan is among one of the most important names in Pakistan hockey history. In recent years, despite a few big names in Pakistan hockey team, the performance at international level competitions has been mediocre. Hanif Khan was one of the hockey players who used to ensure in their time that Pakistan hockey team does not lose in any competition. It was more to their passion for the game of field hockey which led the Pakistan hockey team to major victories in world cup hockey tournaments, champions trophy and in the race of Olympic gold medal. Hanif Khan has been associated with Pakistan hockey in one way or the other all his life.
Hockey is the national game of Pakistan. Hockey was played in the sub-continent before partition. Pakistan had many talented hockey players at the time of partition. The first tournament the Pakistan hockey team played was on 14th Olympic Games. Pakistan faced Belgium and defeated it 2-1 on 2nd August 1948.
With hard work and dedication, Pakistan hockey team made a name for itself as a strong team. It played many international tournaments and emerged as a winner. Till late 70’s, it held almost all the major titles. Olympics, World cup, Champions Trophy. The introduction of “Astroturf” caused the decline in Pakistan hockey. Pakistan’s Hockey’s standard deteriorated gradually and it has not been able to regain its former glory despite several attempts.
TOP TEN PLAYERS:
4. Hassan Sardar
5. Qasim Zia
6. Athar Rasool
7. Hanif Khan
8. Sohail Abbas
9. Mohammad Saqlain
10. Waseem Ahmed
We are a cricket crazy nation. For most part of the year, we are gripped by cricket fever especially if Pakistan is playing. Even on streets you can see small children playing cricket.
Pakistan played its first international test match against India in October 1952. The tour of England in 1954 was its first international tour.
Pakistan team is a bunch of talented but emotional players. The Pakistani bowlers have introduced many new bowling strategies and have often been accused of ball tempering. These accusations have proved to be baseless. Like all other geniuses, Pakistani players are simply ahead of their time.
Pakistan team is unpredictable. In 1992 they were the underdogs who astounded the world by defeating England in the final of the world cup. In 1999 they were the strongest team but lost cheaply to Australia in the finals. Currently Pakistan team is the World T20 champion.
TOP TEN PLAYERS
1. Hanif Mohammed
2. Zaheer Abbas
3. Saqlain Mushtaq
4. Waseem Akram
5. Saeed Anwar
6. Javaid Miandad
7. Waqar Younus
8. Waseem Bari
9. Imran Khan
10. Shahid Afridi