Glory Day Of Pakistan Hockey

For a Pakistani sports enthusiast recalling the 90s, there couldn’t be a better time for sports. On December 4, 1994, in Sydney, when Mansoor Ahmad collapsed on the right to save a penalty from a Dutchman [Jeroen Delmee], Pakistan not only became world hockey champion for the fourth time but world champion of four different sports at the same time – cornered tigers lifted the crystal trophy in Melbourne in 1992, Mohammad Yousuf defeated an Icelandic [Johnannes R. Johanesson] in Johannesburg in 1994, Jansher Khan successfully accompanied Peter Marshall to Barcelona in 1994. Cricket, snooker, squash, and hockey – 1994 can be called the miracle year of Pakistan.

The Hockey World Championship was held in mid-1998 in Utrecht, but it did not attract most of the new generation, perhaps because Pakistan, despite being the defending champions, did not perform well. Just when it looked like hockey was going to die, in November 1998 and our hockey game lost a penny because around this time they hosted five international teams in the 20th edition of the championship. Trophee des enemies.

Of all Pakistani sports, hockey is the most affected for several reasons: poor performance, lack of stars, and security issues to name a few.

However, now that the team is putting on some sort of show in London, interest as seen on social media has returned but Pakistani hockey is still a mile away from what it used to be. In 1998, the team still had Shahbaz Ahmad aka Senior, Kamran Ashraf, Tahir Zaman, and Mansoor Ahmad, but the heart of the team was a newcomer who made his international debut the same year (1998), Sohail Abbas.

Those flashy, fiery pulls earned Abbas a reputation as a corner specialist. Abbas has added a new flair and glamor to Pakistani sport to the point where even non-hockey fans are forced to head to the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore as Pakistan advances to the Championship Cup final. 

1998 to face the Netherlands. Pakistan lost 3-1 but the crowded stadium proves an interest in hockey. The final came on the same day as Australia played the ODI in Peshawar. But the priority of the day is hockey, not cricket.

It is no exaggeration to think that for much of the 1990s, hockey in Pakistan was as passionately fancied as cricket. Immediately after the 1998 Cup, Pakistan entered the Asian Games in Bangkok and finished third, winning the bronze medal. Interest in hockey did not wane as the following month and year, in January 1999, Pakistan hosted India in a four-match series and then toured India in February with a similar number of matches. 

It was a time when Pakistani cricket and hockey teams were in India to compete bilaterally in their respective matches.

In June 1999, the 21st Hockey Championships have held at the same time as the World Cricket Championships and the last day of both events was the same, June 20. This saw Australia win both events, the World Cricket at the Lord’s Final and the Champions Trophy in Brisbane – later that year, Australia also won the Rugby World Cup.

As for Pakistan, they were beaten at Lord by the Kangaroos and finished last, in sixth place after their defeat to England in Brisbane, which resulted in them being knocked out of the next edition of the Champions Trophy for the first time in history.

The following year, in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics, Pakistan reached the semi-finals but did not win a medal. Since 1994, the Sydney Olympics remain the only event, including the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, in which Pakistan has reached at least one semi-final. Hockey went silent for a few years after that. In 2002, Pakistan competed in the World Cup in Kuala Lampur, placing 5th in the event.

Then in 2002, when Pakistan competed and won a bronze medal in the playoffs against India at the Champions Trophy in Cologne, it gave the fans some respite. The match will be remembered for the arrival of Rehan Butt and his shrewdness as he turned a long pass into the decisive goal. In the 2003 Champions Trophy sequel, Pakistan and India once again played play-offs for third place. In a group stage match, India beat Pakistan by scoring seven goals thanks to Dhanraj Pillay. But the playoffs are reminiscent of the previous year – Pakistan won with Rehan Butt once again proving to be India’s scourge with just two minutes left.

It doesn’t stop there. The following year, Pakistan scored a bronze medal hat-trick at the Champions Trophy and beat India in the playoffs. This time they did it in front of a home audience when Lahore hosted the event in 2004. Since then, Pakistan has not hosted such an event and has not won a medal.

The mid-2000s were the last time when Pakistan was to some extent considered a competitive team. In recent years, they haven’t even managed to qualify for the Championship Cup let alone step onto the podium. They haven’t won an Olympic medal since Barcelona in 1992, and haven’t reached the World Cup semi-finals since Sydney in 1994.

Now, their current hockey performance at the 2012 Olympics has given fans some hope. Critics held the fire momentarily. Judging by the fan support on social media and the global trending Sohail Abbas on Twitter, it’s not hard to see that the hockey craze is still around. The fans still possess the excitement and thrill of the early 1990s and I hope the team can match their spirit as well.