Hockey legend Samiullah Khan recalled a chilly but shining morning in January 1982 while he together with different gamers of Pakistan’s countrywide hockey squad landed at Karachi airport keeping the glittering World Cup trophy after his crew beat West Germany 3-1 inside the very last in Bombay (now Mumbai).
As quickly because the champions emerged from the lounge, thousands of exuberant hockey fanatics chanted “Pakistan Zindabad”, or Long Live Pakistan, whilst showering them with rose petals and putting garlands round their necks.
Some of the elated sports activities enthusiasts could hoist the gamers on their shoulders as the security officials had to struggle to make way for the team to hop on their bus.
“Those moments are unforgettable. That became the golden generation of hockey whilst the sport might run inside the country’s blood,” Samiullah, also called ‘The Flying Horse’ due to his outstanding pace, informed Anadolu Agency.
It took the champions six hours to cowl a 15-kilometer distance from the airport to the mausoleum of the daddy of the country, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, because of the huge crowds.
To the wonder of many, hockey is the national sport of an in any other case cricket-obsessed Pakistan, which ruled the game for many years, significantly from 1948 to 1984.
Having won world cups in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, Pakistan is the most a hit and handiest crew that has gained the title 4 instances.
Apart from the 4 global cup titles, Pakistan has additionally gained 3 Olympic gold medals — in 1960, 1968 and 1984 — and 8 Asian Games and four Champions Trophy tournaments.
But the sport, for which the country was global-famend, is now a image of apathy.
Spectator-much less stadiums, declining numbers of players and a digital media blackout are enough proof that the state has lost hobby in the sport.
Scenes all through the ongoing national hockey championship at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium in Karachi further exposed the government and Pakistan Hockey Federation’s so-referred to as efforts to regain a niche at the victory stand.
Several gamers have been filled into small halls and rooms with their garments and kits striking above them from the partitions.
Some gamers queued up outdoor the grounds to fetch water from a cooler after spending a sleepless night time due to a power outage within the sultry climate.
“What form of overall performance do you assume from us if we couldn’t sleep the entire night?” said a participant who represented the north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province squad taking component within the championship.
“Look at the conditions and centers (right here) first after which expect us to compete at the international stage,” he stated with a sarcastic smile, inquiring for now not to be named.
Currently, a total of 440 golf equipment are registered with the Pakistan Hockey Federation, of which simplest 40 are lively, in step with Samiullah.
The usa is in 17th place within the international hockey rating, which means it cannot even immediately qualify to play the final rounds of the World Cup, Olympics or Champions Trophy. It has to play a qualifying round to at ease an area within the final rounds of these tournaments.
Several teams which were skilled and coached by means of Pakistani players, along with China, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, are ahead of Pakistan in the world ranking.
“It’s painful to look the contemporary hockey scenario. But this has not came about all of a surprising. It’s a slow decline,” Hanif Khan, every other hockey celebrity who become a part of the national squad that received several titles from 1976 to 1985, advised Anadolu Agency.
Khan, who scored a hundred forty five goals in 150 fits, noted political intervention, destruction of domestic shape and lack of facilities as key reasons in the back of the fall apart of hockey within the u . S ..
Samiullah, who scored fifty six dreams in a hundred and fifty fits, vindicated Khan’s view.
“Apart from political intervention, Pakistan could not meet the trendy infrastructure standards, which in the long run affected the crew’s performance however also reduced youths’ hobby in the game,” he determined, regarding the advent of AstroTurf — an artificial grass floor — floor in hockey in 1975.