Pakistan hockey was in shock this year when at the Asia Cup their failure to win the tournament meant that they would not be participating in the World Cup for the first time ever in the 42 years of the competition.
The man at the helm former national player Tahir Zaman initially offered to step aside, but once the emotion had gone out of the situation decided to stay on and try and restore Pakistan as one of the leading hockey nations in the world.
On their day Pakistan can destroy any team, their skill levels are phenomenal, but like India as the game has evolved and sports medicine and rolling substitutions have become more integral to the game they have been left behind.
It does not help that due to the Political situation in Pakistan the national team has to play all of its hockey outside of its home. This comes at a cost and as Zaman said on “Not The Footy Show” that can lead to funding on the development of up and coming players being cut.
It will be a long road and at times a very tough journey to climb back to the top but along the way there will be key markers.
Retaining their Asian Champions Trophy on Sunday will have been one of those small steps. Winning is a good habit, and it will be good for this group of players to get back twinning ways after the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup.
Pakistan won the title by defeating hosts Japan 3-1 in the final match of the third Asian Champions Trophy field hockey tournament being played in Japan’s Kakamighara city.
Importantly Pakistan remained undefeated in the tournament. The green shirts beat Oman, Malaysia, China and India to reach the final. Prior to the final the match between Japan and Pakistan ended in a 1-1 draw.
Malaysia claimed the third position in the tournament after defeating China while another former giant of the game and the winners of the Asia Cup India, were on fifth spot with win over Oman.