Adil Najam in Lahore concludes his analysis of Pakistan hockey.

IF we evaluate Amsterdam in light to the recent World Cup instead of in the background of falsified hopes of the PHF, the more optimistic of us may even find something to be happy. For me the sheer fact that in nearly every match it was Pakistan that scored the opening goal is in itself a positive sign, though a small one. What we must all remember is that a team that falls as low as we did in London does not rise overnight. All that we must guarantee is that we do not fall even lower!

The most important and most encouraging difference between London. and Amsterdam was that in the latter our team once again retrieved its skills of attacking, At least our forwards were once again seen in the D’s of the opposition. That in itself should be counted as a consolation; though a small one. What really still lacked in the team was their power to finish with the flourish which had once converted Pakistan into the hockey superpower of the world. Time and again, we missed goals that were as near certainties as we could ever get. If anything we must concentrate on this aspect if we wish to ever retrieve our lost glory.

The conversion of penalty corners remains yet another stigma on our records. In more matches than most, Pakistan was awarded more penalty corners than its opponents and yet failed to drive home the advantage. And as if to complement this poor finishing and imp biolytic penalty corner conversion the final blow on our performance was our poor and seemingly un unified defenses. The (forced?) retirements of Qasim Zia and Ayaz Mahmood certainly paid their unfortunate dividends at Amsterdam and we would have certainly given more respectable performance had they also been in the side.

Measures should be taken to rectify shortcomings of Amsterdam but what is to be stressed here is that magnifying false hopes will only intensify the pain of their shattering and the general public as well as the PHF would do well to understand that the glory that we flouted so easily would not be retrieved with the same ease,

It shall take a long time and hard work to even get near to that which was ours and instead of building these sand castles in the air before each major tournament we would do better to concentrate on a step by step building of the team. The pain that Amsterdam signifies for the lovers of hockey is not the pain of defeat as much as it is the pain of shattered dreams and we as a nation would do well to base our future endeavor on the concrete foundations of concentrated efforts and) methodical evaluation rather than on the fairytale clouds of wishful’ thinking. 

VICTORY POSE…Premchand Dhingra with the ‘Mr. India’ title won at the 26th Bodybuilding championships held at Indore recently. This TISCO muscleman will now represent India at the ‘Mr. Universe’ contest at Madrid in October.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 14, 1987