Sohail Abbas

By Asif Khan
Tue, 02, 24

This week, You! is in conversation with hockey maestro Sohail Abbas, delving into his journey and insights into the game…

Sohail Abbas

you & me

Sohail Abbas, Pakistan’s hockey sensation, is a national treasure, celebrated for his lethal flicks and the title of the ultimate ‘King of the drag flicks’. He shattered records held by legends like Paul Litjens and Mark Hager, making a splash on the international scene since his junior days. With 315 caps, 348 goals, and 21 hat-tricks, he reigns as Pakistan’s top scorer in World Cups and Olympics. Abbas, a record-breaker and Pride of Performance awardee, showcased unmatched skills with his strong wrist, tiger pace, and strategic drills, clinching the FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey) Player of the Year multiple times in the past. He’s not just a goal-scoring dynamo; he’s the fastest to reach 100 and 200 goals and holds the record for the highest goals in a single Asia Cup edition. Let’s delve deeper into the journey of this hockey legend...

You are often regarded as Pakistan’s living legend in international hockey, how do you view your contribution to the nation’s sports legacy?

I believe my role in hockey has been significant, representing Pakistan and breaking world records. It’s an honour to contribute to the country’s sports pride.

Which achievement stands out the most in your career?

Breaking Paul Litjens’ record in 2004 is a moment etched in my memory. It was against India, and the victory marked a turning point in my career.

What motivates you to stay excellent consistently?

Consistency and discipline are paramount. I’ve always focused on maintaining a high level of performance, setting a standard for myself and my team.

Your commitment to the sport earned you the FIH Player of the Year award multiple times. What qualities do you attribute your success to?

Self-control has been my greatest strength. Along with a strong wrist, tiger pace, and focused drills, it played a crucial role in my achievements on the field.

Sohail Abbas

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations, both for yourself and the future of Pakistani hockey?

I aim to mobilise youth for positive activities and prepare young players for success in the Olympics. Modernising the Pakistan Hockey Federation is crucial for the continued growth of the sport.

How do you stay fit for the game?

My fitness formula adapts based on specific game targets. It involves a combination of training techniques to enhance my skills on the field.

Outside of the hockey arena, what values do you hold dear in your personal life?

Inner peace is my life’s biggest asset. It helps me navigate challenges, both on and off the field, with a calm and focused mindset.

In moments of reflection, is there a piece of advice that profoundly impacted your perspective on life and career?

My father’s advice resonates deeply – the importance of personal struggle and hard work over shortcuts. It shaped my approach to both life and hockey.

Could you elaborate on some of the philanthropy work you’ve been involved in?

During the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, collaborating with my club and Rotterdam City Council, we organised fundraising matches, inviting international teams. The collected funds directly aided earthquake victims through global relief organisations.

Sohail Abbas

What hurts you the most?

The present state of my beloved nation.

What can’t you bear?

Witnessing injustice against the innocent.

Your best achievement to date?

Holding the record for the highest goals scored in field hockey (348).

Do you believe in hard work or smart work?

Both. Smart work complements hard work, considering training, exercise, and nutrition.

What helps you when you’re feeling low?

Prayer and gratitude for the Almighty’s blessings.

Something you regret?

I find strength in mistakes, avoiding regrets.

Something you’d like to remember?

The struggle and obstacles that shaped my journey.

What do you like about yourself?

I don’t lie.

Something you’d like to forget:

Time spent with selfish friends.

What are you afraid of?

Seeking forgiveness for mistakes, not mundane fears.

If given a chance, what would you like to be?

Myself, believing everything happens according to God’s will.

Life motto you live by:

Doing work with honesty, attributing achievements to hard work and blessings of God.

Finally, if you could share one message with aspiring athletes and fans, what would it be?

Be true, kind, and always remain genuinely positive. Honesty and hard work have been the pillars of my success, and I believe they can inspire others on their journeys.