Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: PM Shehbaz lauds Pakistan hockey team

Sharif was happy to see renewed interest for hockey in the country

By Web Desk
May 11, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. - X/@CMShehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday lauded the Pakistan hockey team for qualifying for the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Pakistan have qualified for the final, where they will face Japan today, for the first time in 13 years.

“Heartiest congratulations to our National Hockey Team for making it to the finals of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament after 13 long years,” Sharif posted on X, which was formerly known as Twitter.

“Looking forward to today's match! Best of luck.

“The renewed interest for hockey, our national game, throughout Pakistan signals a promising trend for the future.”

Pakistan’s first-ever sports channel, Geo Super, will broadcast the final live from 5:30pm (Pakistan Standard Time).

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 saw the conclusion of round matches on Friday with Japan and Pakistan finishing as the top two teams on the points table as both remained unbeaten throughout the round-robin matches.

Japan remained on the top with 13 points as they won four matches and drew only one. While Pakistan stayed on the second position with 11 points.

Earlier, while shedding light on Pakistan’s opponents in the final, forward Abdul Hannan Shahid said that Japan’s defensive line is extremely solid.

“Japan are defensively very solid and they don’t give many openings to their opponents,” he said. “As far as attack is concerned, they might not be as creative as some of the other teams but they are quite effective in taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes on the field.”

“Pakistan have scored a high number of goals but at the same time, we are conceding at the other end as well. However, we will try to rectify our defensive flaws in the remaining matches,” he added.

Pakistan’s performance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup should be a morale booster for the team especially because the team has to feature in the FIH Nations Cup in Gniezno, Poland, from May 31 to June 9 as well. The Nations Cup is important because the winning team will have the opportunity to play in the FIH Hockey Pro League for the 2024-25 season.