After impressive showing last month in Bhubaneswar (India) during Champions Trophy, Pakistan hockey team has now come again in the elite International Hockey Federation (FIH) top ten list at 10th spot.
Pakistan entered Champions Trophy with a lowly 11th spot to compete against top world class teams. Keeping aside paper records, the green-shirts showed glimpses of their past glory and defeated World No 2 The Netherlands in quarterfinals and dangerous hosts India in semifinals and reached the final against all odds.
However, just before the final, the team was trapped and entangled into a controversy by hosts India, apparently for green shirts’ wild celebration after semifinal triumph. FIH initially let the green shirts go only with a warning after Coach Shahnaz Sheikh tendered an apology on behalf of the team. But India dissented and asked stricter punishment and threatened not to host any international events in future.
Subsequently, FIH banned two Pakistan players hours before the final clash against Germany. In spite of the side been weakened and distracted, green shirts put impressive show in the climax. However, they eventually lost the battle 2-0 and Germany was crowned champions.
Coach Shahnaz Sheikh said that had Pakistan was not engulfed in the controversy before the final match, they could have even defeated Germany.
Record four-time World Champions Pakistan, who failed to find a place for the first time in World Cup last year, has now made it back to top international arena and has also find a place in elite top ten.
Australia, The Netherlands and Germany have maintained their top three positions respectively while Spain has slumped to 11th spot.