Pakistan hockey team honoured at PM house – Daily Frontline


The runners up of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, Pakistan hockey team, was honoured at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif along with Federal Minister of Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Information Attaullah Tarar, Pakistan hockey greats including Samiullah Khan, Islahuddin Shehbaz senior and others graced the event on Thursday.

Pakistan lost to Japan 4-1 on a penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2 in the normal time. The Japanese goalkeeper made two excellent saves in the shootout which ended the Green Shirts’ hopes of lifting the title.

“I pray that our hockey team continues to shine like they did in the tournament,” said Olympian Samiullah. “I’m thankful to the Prime Minister and Rana Mashood for honouring the hockey team.

“I think this encouragement would be morale booster for them. They should prove that they are good player and can win more games and trophies for Pakistan.”

Islahuddin was off the view that this achievement was not an overnight job.

“There is a perception that they came out of nowhere and reached the final is wrong. They have been preparing for this tournament for a while,” said Samiullah.

Pakistan team’s center forward Abdur Rehman was eager to take revenge from Japan.

“This was my debut tournament in professional hockey,” he said. “Obviously, it is heartbreaking for everyone that we came so close. However, we are eagerly waiting to settle the score with Japan.”

As announced, the Premier distributed the prize of Rs1 million to each player of the hockey team. Apart from that, he also handed a Rs1 million cheque to javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem.

Kashmala Talat and her team, who qualified for the rifle shooting event at the Paris Olympics, were also rewarded with a Rs1 million as well. Usman Khan, who will be participating in the equestrian event in the Olympics was given £25,000.

PM Shehbaz in his address congratulated the entire hockey team and the staff for their remarkable achievement.

“Today, I’m not the chief guest, the Pakistan hockey team and the players are,” he started his address. “You were not defeated, you are the winners because of the fact that the way nation celebrated and the position we were in the world hockey. It was something remarkable.”

“The way you played it freshened all of my memories of the golden era of our hockey where we had legends like Samiullah, Islahuddin, Shehbaz and include Akhtar Rasool as well….”

He said that this is due to their hard work of players, coach and trainers.

“If this process continues, winning and losing is part of the game, but the way you guys fought is a clear indication of future achievements,” he said.

He announced to hold a meeting with representatives of the Pakistan Hockey Federation and other stakeholder soon for the revival of the game.

The national side returned to the country on Sunday where they were given a heroic welcome at Lahore Airport where Prime Minister Youth Program Chairman Rana Mashood, former captain Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool, Muhammad Saqlain and Anjum Saeed and other former players were present.

Remember, the final had to be decided on a shootout after both teams scored two goals apiece at the end of full time.

Japan took the lead in the shootout courtesy of Ryoma Ooka while his teammates continued the momentum, scoring the other three.

Meanwhile, Pakistan missed the first two whereas Ammad Butt netted the ball in the third stroke.

Japan staged a comeback to level the score 2-2 after Pakistan scored two goals in the third quarter. Kazumasa Matsumoto produced a second goal in the 47th minute.

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