In case you missed it; International hockey’s revival in Pakistan
After cricket and wrestling matches Pakistan hosted international Hockey matches in order to embellish our faded national sport. Pakistan hosted the World 11 hockey team for 2 matches played in Karachi and Lahore. After restless efforts of Pakistan Hockey Federation they have managed to arrange a team of 16 players from countries like Argentina, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Spain.
Karachi hosted the first match at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium on january 19th. The match turned into a Fiasco as Pakistan heavily lost the match by a 5-1 margin. Pakistan had the lead of 1-0 in the first two quarters but as the match progressed Pakistan lost its control. Captain Roderick, Grant Schubert, Phillip Meulenbroek and David Alegre then took the charge by scoring goals persistently. At times Pakistan made really good moves but the strong defense of World IX didn’t let them to be converted into goals.
After the 2nd quarter, Pakistan looked completely bewildered as approximately after each 4-5 minute they conceded a goal. Pakistan’s catastrophe was heartbreaking but the statement by the foreign players: “we felt safe” was sufficient to felicitate the spectators.
2 days later, Lahore got the privilege to host the international side for a match. Pakistan this time responded to previous defeat quite strongly by working on their flaws in the previous match. Adil Rao, the goal keeper showed his agility and dexterity in blocking the goals. Roderick Weusthof, Nahuel Salis, John Escarre, Rob Reckersw and Diego Paz came close many times but Pakistan’s defense blocked them all. This was a really competitive match with both the teams standing shoulder to shoulder. Both the sides scored 2-2 each and then the match became super exciting, since both the teams wanted to have the lead in the last minutes. Roderick used his swiftness and beautifully scored the 3rd goal, leaving Pakistan’s defense completely baffled. Moving on to the last moments Naveed Alam stood firm and scored the third goal finally, after failing earlier. This concluded the match to a draw. Pakistan’s young team competed exceptionally against the blue ribbon international superstars.
Moreover, than the results of matches, the presence of international stars in Pakistan for revival of Hockey was far more important. The crowd proudly welcomed the team, the hockey Olympians Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar Secretary, Shahbaz Ahmad Senior and Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination-Riaz Hussain Pirzada came to congratulate and welcome the players. The interior minister- Mr.Ahsan Iqbal and COAS Mr. Qamar Bajwa’s love and hospitality for the International stars shows the respect and craving for the revival of Hockey in Pakistan.