Pakistan to tour Australia in Nov this year: Secretary PHF

PESHAWAR: Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation and former hockey artisan Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior Saturday said that Pakistan senior team would visit Australia in November this year.

Shahbaz Ahmad Senior said that they were striving hard to have international exposure for both the senior and junior team and we want that the junior team should have international exposure well before Junior World Cup to be held in India in first week of December this year.

He also lauded Australia Hockey Federation for enhancing all out support as the board and lodging have promised by them to the team during team visit so less amount is needed for the tour. The tour, he said, will prove vital for the senior team.

He said the government has allocated 7.5 million in which the team have visit while they have also utilized money on the pendency of the last PHF management. He said efforts have been taken to invite teams like China, Malaysia etc to have their test matches in order to bringing back the international hockey to Pakistan.

He said PHF is ready to give full detail of the financial matters to the government and it is good to have check from them.

Secretary General Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior said that Pakistan Senior Hockey team will participate in the forthcoming 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup to be played in April 2016.

Shahbaz Ahmad Senior said that after overwhelming support substantiated by Tayyab Ikram, CEO, Asian Hockey Federation, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has extended an invitation to PHF for participation of the Pakistan Senior hockey team in the next edition of the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be played from April 7-17, 2016.

He said, Pakistan hockey team participated in every edition of this event since its inception except for 2014 and 2015 editions and playing in this prestigious event will provide fast track, more exposure and experience to our players.

He termed it very vital for providing international exposure to players. He said due to lack of funds PHF was not able to send its team to various foreign tours.

“Now the situation will soon be improved as far as international exposure to the junior and senior teams are concerned,” once called as artisan of hockey Shahbaz added.

He said after his appointed as Secretary General PHF, efforts afoot to bring the hockey back on the right track and in the right direction.

He said President PHF Brig. (Retd) Khalid Sajjad Kokkar is also working hard and is constant touch to bring international hockey back to Pakistan.

“President PHF has many meetings in this connection with the members of AHF and FIH and all of them want to support Pakistan Hockey,” Shahbaz added.

Shahbaz was called as Maradona of Hockey and considered among the best forwards in the history of field hockey.

He joined the Pakistan National Hockey Team in 1986, and was captain of the national side, that led his team to the 1994 Men’s Hockey World Cup victory.

After the Atlanta Games in 1996, he played for Dutch club Oranje Zwart and for German club Harvestehuder THC from Hamburg for a couple of years.

Nicknamed The Maradona of Hockey represented Pakistan in the Champions Trophy Hockey Tournaments held in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989; 3rd Asia Cup, New Delhi 1989; 7th Hockey World Cup, 1990, Lahore, BMW Trophy Amsterdam, 1990, 11th Asian Games Beijing, 1990, 12th Champions Trophy, Melbourne and Hockey World Cup, Sydney, 1994.

He made his world famous run down against Australia in the same tournament. “But in 1994, at the Sydney World Cup, in the pool match between Australia and Pakistan, Australia had a similar free hit just outside the Pakistan circle which was intercepted and moved onto Pakistan’s Shahbaz who then executed his famous run with Australia’s Ken Wark chasing him.

Shahbaz drew a covering defender and reverse-stick the ball to Kamran Ashraf, who scored.” He played at three Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in 1992.

Shahbaz was declared the best player in the 7th World Cup, Lahore, 1990, and received the BMW Trophy, Amsterdam, 1990.

He has won gold medals in the 3rd Asia Cup, New Delhi, 1989; Asian Games, Beijing, 1990; silver medals in Champions Trophy, 1988; 7th WC, Lahore, 1990; BMW Trophy, Amsterdam, 1990; and a bronze medal in 8th Champions Trophy, 1986.

Shahbaz Ahmad is regarded as one of the best forwards in the game. He is the only player in history of Field Hockey to win two consecutive player? of the tournament awards in the 1990 WC in Lahore, and at the 1994 WC in Sydney.

He leads the list of most-capped Pakistanis with 304 caps in international field hockey.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of hockey, he was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Medal in 1992 by the Government of Pakistan.