Given its long history, hockey is not even close to being cricket. Nevertheless, it is the national sport of Pakistan. Despite winning many gold medals at the Olympics and World Cups in the past, Pakistan’s hockey has sunk into a bottomless pit of mediocrity over the previous decade.
Asian Hockey Champions Trophy | Hanan is happy with his podium position
The fact that Pakistan failed to qualify for back-to-back Olympic Games in 2016 and 2022. The 2023 World Cup demonstrates the decline. The lack of professionals in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). A lack of attention to fitness and sports sciences are significant factors for Pakistan’s continuous slide in sports.
Some players have also been compelled to leave Pakistan hockey to pursue rich financial opportunities elsewhere. Pakistan, placed 16th in the FIH Rankings, will return to action tomorrow in the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy in Chennai, India, after an eight-month absence.
The senior team’s most recent appearance was in the FIH Nations Cup in December 2022 in South Africa, where they finished seventh out of eight teams. Despite the challenges, Pakistan’s top forward Abdul Hanan Shahid is optimistic about his team’s chances at the Asian Games.
“The competition will be tough during the tournament but we have tried to tick all the boxes in the training camp and the players are confident ahead of the event,” Hanan told in an exclusive interview.
“India will have an edge over Pakistan because of the home crowd and the fact that they are also participating in the Hockey Pro League, which included all the top hockey nations in the world.
“However, it is also important to see which team plays better on the day. Our players are motivated to do well and I’m hopeful that Pakistan team will finish on the podium.”
Hanan also said that he is focused on representing the national side despite getting multiple offers from clubs in Europe.
“I get many offers from clubs in England, Belgium and Germany but my first priority is to serve the national team. Whatever I have achieved in the game is because of the Pakistan Hockey Federation,” he said.
“I also would like to mention that we only get good offers from top clubs when we are playing with the national team. If we are out of the team, only lower-division clubs approach us.
“I currently have no plans about leaving the national team for club hockey in the future. I hope things also get better in Pakistan hockey. If we win medal in Asian Hockey Champions Trophy and the Asian Games this year, it will give boost to our hockey.”
- August 3 – vs Malaysia
- August 4 – vs Korea
- August 6 – vs Japan
- August 7 – vs China
- August 9 – vs India