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Friday, November 21, 2014

Hall of fame: Shahbaz Ahmed — the Maradona of Hockey

But one man arguably ranks higher than any player in the history of the game; his control of the hockey ball, lightening runs from one end of the field to another, razor sharp and accurate passes for the centre forwards made him the ‘Maradona of hockey’.

Shahbaz Ahmed captained Pakistan to the 1994 World Cup title in Sydney, the last global triumph for the country in the much loved national sport.
His performance in the final against the Netherlands is considered by many as one of the greatest displays of dribbling, body dodges, ball control and stick work the world has ever seen.

Shahbaz Ahmad  is a former field hockey player from Pakistan who is also known as Shahbaz Ahmad Sr. He is considered to be among the best forwards in the history of field hockey. He joined the Pakistan National Hockey Team in 1986, and was captain of the national side, that led his team to the 1994 Men's Hockey World Cup victory. After the Atlanta Games in 1996, he played for Dutch club Oranje Zwart and for German club Harvestehuder THC from Hamburg for a couple of years.

Nicknamed The Maradona of Hockey he has represented Pakistan in the Champions Trophy tournaments held in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989; 3rd Asia Cup, New Delhi 1989; 7th Hockey World Cup, 1990, Lahore, BMW Trophy Amsterdam, 1990, 11th Asian Games Beijing, 1990, 12th Champions Trophy, Melbourne and Hockey World Cup, Sydney, 1994. He made his world famous run down against Australia in the same tournament. " But in 1994, at the Sydney World Cup, in the pool match between Australia and Pakistan, Australia had a similar free hit just outside the Pakistan circle which was intercepted and moved onto Pakistan's Shahbaz who then executed his famous run with Australia's Ken Wark chasing him. Shahbaz drew a covering defender and reverse-sticked the ball to Kamran Ashraf, who scored."

He played at three Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in 1992.

Shahbaz Ahmad was declared the best player in the Seventh World Cup, Lahore, 1990, and received the BMW Trophy, Amsterdam, 1990. He has won gold medals in the 3rd Asia Cup, New Delhi, 1989; Asian Games, Beijing, 1990; silver medals in Champions Trophy, 1988; 7th world cup, Lahore, 1990; BMW Trophy, Amsterdam, 1990; and a bronze medal in 8th Champions Trophy, 1986. He was awarded the best player award in 1994 world cup Sydney as well.

Shahbaz Ahmad is regarded as one of the best forwards in the game.[citation needed] He is the only player in history of Field Hockey to win two consecutive player of the tournament awards in the 1990 World Cup in Lahore, and at the 1994 World Cup in Sydney. He leads the list of most-capped Pakistanis with 304 caps in international field hockey.