April issue 2010

By | Sports | Published 14 years ago

It was in the 1972 Olympics that Pakistan hockey suffered one of its biggest scandals ever. Pakistan went to Munich as favourites for the Olympic hockey crown but lost a close battle for supremacy against hosts West Germany in what was a controversial final.

Pakistan’s players and officials were unhappy with the quality of umpiring during the match, which they lost by a solitary goal, and refused to accept the result of the final thus paving the path for what is seen as the darkest moment in the history of Pakistan hockey: many members of the team put their medals on their shoes. The entire Pakistan team was suspended for unsporting behaviour during the medal ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee suspended Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) from international hockey activities for four years. The team manager and the players involved were banned for life. The punishments were revoked two years later but the damage was done.

The players concerned were skipper Asad Malik, his deputy Saeed Anwar and nine others — goalkeeper Saleem Sherwani, Akhtarul Islam, Munawwar-uz-Zaman, Riaz Ahmed, Fazalur Rehman, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Mudassar Asghar, Abdul Rasheed Jr and Shahnaz Sheikh.

This article is part of a larger report of the health of sports in Pakistan: Game Over

The writer is ranked among the battle-hardened journalists covering sports. As sports editor for The News, he covers sporting action extensively in Pakistan and abroad.