During the World XI vs Pakistan series as a creditworthy gesture, Pakistan Hockey Federation has arranged a Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which will be held in Karachi on the 19th January. In this ceremony along with Pakistani stalwarts, foreign hockey greats will be inducted in the Hall of Fame.
The foreign legends include:
-Paul Litjens (Netherlands) is regarded as on of the most fearsome penalty corner striker of his time. He played 177 matches with the Dutch national team, scoring 268 goals, an international record he held from 1982 to 2004. Sohail Abbas broke his record. Member of Netherlands’ first ever World Cup winning team of 1973 and also when they first won the Champions Trophy in 1981 in Karachi. Top scorer at 1976 Olympics.
-Floris Jan Bovelander (Netherlands) is another phenomenal penalty corner expert from Holland. Top scorer at 1994 World Cup with nine goals when Netherlands defeated hosts Pakistan 3-1 in the final, scored two goals in the final. Also has Olympic gold (1996), World Cup Silver 1994.
-Christain Blunck (Germany) has been classified as Germany‘s major hockey centre with hockey in his blood. Mother Greta Blunck was a German hockey star of 1950s and 1960s. The highlight of his long international career (1989-98) was the 1992 Olympics where Germany won the gold after 20 years. Blunck played a major role in that triumph — he was declared Player of the Tournament. He also captained Germany and has a silver medal from the 1990 World Cup in Lahore.
-Juan Escarre (Spain) is a midfielder who appeared in 256 Internationals. Played in three Olympics. Won silver at 1996 Olympics, World Cup silver in 1998. Captain of the European Nations Cup gold medal winning team in 2005 and also Captain of the Champions Trophy gold medal winning team in 2004 in Lahore.
-Don Prior (Australian) is one of the most distinguished Umpires in the game of Hockey. He Umpired at Two Olympic Finals 1988 & 1996, and also the World Cup final of 1994 won by Pakistan. Also pioneered video & computer software for sports analysis including worldwide performance analysis system Sportscode first used by Australian hockey teams to conduct the first performance analyses that are commonplace today in elite sports. Also worked with the FIH in the preparation of the technology for the third umpire system. Inducted into Hockey Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
– Shahnaz Sheikh is regarded as one of the most skilled and explosive forwards which the world of hockey has produced. He played during the period 1969 till 1978 and wore the Pakistan team cap 68 times and scored 45 goals. He was part of the team which won the Olympic Silver medal in 1972 , Bronze in 1976 and also the 1971 and 1978 Field Hockey World Cup including the Silver medal in 1975. After retirement in 2015, Shahnaz Sheikh was the national team coach.
– Akhtar Rasool came to be known as one of the creative craftsman in centre-half recovery and ball distribution. He wore the national team cap in 1971 and was noted for his relaxed, well controlled and clean playing style. Having played till 1982, Akhtar Rasool, made his hall mark recognition of playing with an exceptional technique of passing the ball with extraordinary precise timing to the right player.
– Samiullah Khan was referred as the ‘Flying Horse’ and played as a left winger during the 1970s – 80s. He carried a distinctive playing style which carried in it the rhythm of grace and control. From a family of hockey stalwarts, Samiullah was instrumental in Pakistan’s bronze medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and winning gold in 1978 Bangkok Asian Games. In 1982, he retired from international hockey while he was the captain of Pakistan team. Samiullah Khan later was the manager of the Pakistan Hockey Team till 2005.
– Hasan Sardar without doubt is known as the best centre forward Pakistan has ever produced. Having started his international career in the early 1980s, Hasan played his first World Hockey Cup in 1982 held in Mumbai, India. Sardar has played anchor roles in Pakistan wins. These included Hasan being declared ‘Man of the Tournament’ for scoring 11 world cup goals and in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, Hasan with his hat-trick trashed India 7-1. He was also instrumental in leading Pakistan to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. After retirement, Hasan has also managed the Pakistani Hockey Team and was also the Chief Selector of Pakistan hockey team.
– Shahbaz Ahmed Sr. wore the National team cap in 1986, and in course earned the title of ‘Maradona of hockey’ as he undoubtedly was recognised as the best forwards in the history of field hockey. Having the distinction of wearing the Pakistan national cap 304 times, he has played three Olympic games and is the only player in the history of Field Hockey to have twice consecutively won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ awards in the 1990 World Cup in Lahore, and at the 1994 World Cup in Sydney. Presently, Shahbaz Sr. is the secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation.
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