Lahore : World XI is going to play 2 matches in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, country’s hockey fortunes have dwindled in recent times and no major win has come.
International hockey is coming to Pakistan after a long time. A star studded World XI with players from the leading hockey nations is coming to play two matches against Pakistan at Karachi and Lahore on January 19 and 21 respectively.
In a remarkable gesture, Pakistan Hockey Federation has arranged a Hall of Fame induction ceremony which will be held in Karachi. Along with five international hockey luminaries, six Pakistani legends will be honoured.
1978 was his and indeed Pakistan hockey’s annus mirabilis: Under his captaincy, Pakistan won the World Cup, Asian Games and 1st Champions Trophy. Also captained Pakistan at the 1975 World Cup (silver medal). Was also a member of 1st World Cup winning squad in 1971. As the manager, he guided Pakistan to World Cup silver (1990), and Olympic bronze (1992).
For the entire decade of 1970s, he remained one of the most feared forwards in the world. Originally a left out, he later played at the left in and centre forward positions mostly, and even as the right in- and was equally successful. This depicts his versatility. His medal tally includes two World Cup golds and one silver plus an Olympic silver and bronze.
Winning a World Cup gold is every hockey player’s dream, Akhtar Rasool has as many as three of them (1971, 78 & 82, when he was also the captain) plus one silver. The centre half was the true pivot of the team and a wonderful distributer. Also had wonderful anticipation and recovery which made him equally effective in the defence.
‘Flying Horse’ was the finest left winger of his time and may be of any period. His lightening raids shattered all the defences. Played for Pakistan from 1973-82, has two World Cup golds and one silver plus an Olympic silver and bronze. Only Pakistani to score in four World Cups. Captained Pakistan at the 1982 Asian Games when they defeated India by a record score of 7-1 in the final.
Arguably, the greatest centre forward in the history of the game. He won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award at the 1982 World Cup, 1984 Olympics, 1982 Asia Cup & 1982 Asian Games, with Pakistan winning all these four big title tournaments.
He is also the holder of Pakistan’s all time record tally in a single World Cup with 11 goals in 1982 which is also a record for any forward (for any team) in a single World Cup edition.
A complete package: unbelievable speed with the ball, stick work and dribbling skills mesmerized everyone on the field and off it, goal getting passes were precise and he himself was a fine scorer. Playing at the left in spot during most of his long career (1986-2002), he won the Player of Tournament title more than any other player of his era. Most significantly at the 1994 World Cup, when he captained his country to its last global title besides being declared Player of Tournament. Was also captain at the 1992 Olympics when Pakistan last won an Olympic medal (bronze) and also at their last success in the Champions trophy, in 1994.