Hockey World Cup and Pakistan

January 22, 2023

The four-time champions have once again failed to qualify for the tournament

Hockey World Cup and Pakistan

The 15th edition of Men Hockey World Cup Tournament 2023 is under way at Rourkela and Odisha Hockey stadiums. Sixteen teams are showing their worth in the event which began on January 13.

It’s a nightmarish situation that Pakistan, four-time champions, have once again failed to qualify for the tournament. This tournament was the brainchild of Pakistan and the man behind it, Late Noor Khan.

Pakistan was the hub of hockey in the ‘70s and ‘80s. FIH was happy to approve this idea as Pakistan had a strong voice in the hockey fraternity. The World Cup trophy was also donated by Pakistan which was designed and made at a cost of more than Rs400,000 in 1970 in Pakistan.

The inaugural tournament which was supposed to be played in Pakistan was shifted to Spain. Pakistan won the inaugural tournament to complete a grand slam – winning Olympic 1968, Asian Games 1970 and World Cup 1971.

The Indian hockey authorities have made special arrangements for the World Cup by building a new hockey stadium with a capacity of 20,000 people.

Out of 16 teams there are two which have won this event three times. If Australia or Netherlands win this tournament they will equal the record of Pakistan.

It has been suggested that to popularise this sport – the fastest among outdoor sports – the number of days should be increased to at least three weeks. It would allow more people to watch and would also enable wider media coverage. It would also provide enough rest to players and they would perform even better.

The format of the tournament is interesting as 12 teams get a second chance with crossover matches. Only teams at bottom in each group will be relegated and they will play crossover for 13th to 16th positions.

Pakistan’s failure to qualify should be an SOS call for the IPC ministry and patron in chief of Pakistan hockey. They must take action against the current PHF management which has been in office for more than 8 years and the net result is that from 10th position we have slipped to 17th in the world. In Asia, we rank fifth.

Hockey World Cup and Pakistan