News > POA

Sohail Abbas the Flag Bearer in London 2012 Opening Ceremony Back To Main


Sohail Abbas  a hockey defender, penalty corner specialist and the captain of the Pakistan Hockey Team has been honoured by POA by asking him to carry the Pakistan flag during the March of the Athletes in the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 Olympics. He is the highest goal scorer in the history of field hockey, with his current goal tally at 345. (on 13.06.2012).

Born at Karachi's Holy Family Hospital, Soldier Bazaar on 9 June 1977, Sohail is a former pupil of Karachi's Habib Public School.He comes from a sporting family; his father, Syed Iftikhar Hussain, was a former first-class cricketer. Sohail has often said that his inspiration in Hockey came from his uncle, Safdar Abbas, a left-winger who scored against Argentina during the 1973 World Cup as a 16-year-old boy. Sohail is keen to emphasise the part played by Safdar, who, Sohail says, inspired him as a youngster.

Like many Pakistani hockey players, he is a product of the Pakistan Junior Squad. An impressive performance in the 18th Junior National Hockey U18 Championship at Quetta 1995 gained him a place in Pakistan Junior squad. He next played for Pakistan in the 3rd Junior Asia Cup at Singapore in 1996 and then again in the Pakistan Junior side in 1997. Finally, he made his international debut during the 7th Pak-India series at Peshawar's Lala S.M. Ayub Hockey Stadium on 28 February 1998. Pakistan. The following day, on 1 March 1998, in the second test at Rawalpindi's Army Hockey Stadium, Abbas announced his arrival on the international scene in dramatic fashion, scoring a drag flick from a penalty corner which proved to be the match-winner in Pakistan's 2-1 victory.

Sohail, who struck 20 goals in 1998, was in terrific form in 1999 when Pakistan won the Azlan Shah Cup for the first time and got silver in Asia Cup. He was leading scorer in 8th Pakistan-India Series (10 goals), 9th Azlan Shah Cup (12 goals) and 5th Asia Cup (16 goals). Of 16 Asia Cup's goals, seven were against Sri Lanka which allowed him a place in a select band of nine players who registered double hat-tricks in international circuits for Pakistan. His 60 goals in 1999 beat the world record of Litjens (58 goals) and national record of Sardar (50 goals) in one calendar year.

Sohail is among the seven Pakistanis who completed 200-plus caps in the international hockey circuit. Others are Shahbaz Ahmed, Tahir Zaman, Mansoor Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Waseem Ahmad and Muhammad Nadeem.

It was in the fifth Champion's Trophy that Sohail became the all-time leading scorer of Pakistan in this prestigious annual event, topping Hanif Khan's 21-goal record.

Sohail is the quickest to complete a century of goals, reaching the three figures, when Pakistan thrashed Britain 8-1 in Sydney Olympics on 18 September 2000 (His 50th goal was recorded on 12 August 1999 when he got hat-trick against Spain during Rabobank Challenge at Amstelveen). Thus he completed his century in world record timing of two years, six months and 18 days. He was the sixth Pakistani to reach three figures in international arena after Hassan Sardar (150 goals), Tahir Zaman (134 goals), Kamran Ashraf (129 goals), Hanif Khan (127 goals) and Manzoorul Hassan Sr (101 goals).

Sohail attracted worldwide attention in 2002 when he emerged as the joint highest scorer along with Argentina's Jorge Lombi in the 10th World Cup at Kuala Lumpur.

He managed 44 goals in 2002 and added yet another feather to his cap in that year. Hasan Sardar was Pakistan's top scorer with 150 goals before Abbas. During the Six-Nation Invitational tournament at Kuala Lumpur, a month before World Cup 2002, Sohail scored his 151st international goal, becoming Pakistan's all-time highest scorer in international hockey. He reached double century of goals on 17 August 2003 at Wagener Stadium.

Sohail also started 2004 in whirlwind fashion and won the top scorer award in 13th Azlan Shah Cup at Bukit Jalil Complex. He struck ten goals with the help of two hat tricks against India and Germany. (He has managed one double hat trick and 21 hat tricks in international hockey so far: a record unmatched in international field hockey). Sohail recorded 59 goals in 2004 and was well poised to break his own world record of most goals in calendar year (60 in 1999).

Sohail was also a leading scorer at the 2004 Olympic Games, Athens, with 11 goals, thereby becoming the record Pakistani goal scorer in a single Olympiad, beating the 10-goal record of centre-forward Hassan Sardar, created at the Los Angeles Olympiad twenty years beforehand. Only Sohail, Sardar and Abdul Rashid Jr. have topped the goal scoring-chart in Olympics hockey.

Abbas scored his 267th international goal during the Champions Trophy in Amritsar, India to equal the 22-year-old record of Dutch penalty corner specialist Paul Litjens on 4 October 2004, and then on 8 October he broke the Dutchman's record. Sohail was already the holder of three world records in his six-year international career, before Amritsar's landmark. He is the scorer of the 
highest number of goals (60) in a calendar year as well as the holder of the title of fastest century and double century of goals in international hockey..

He retired in December 2004, just after the Champions Trophy in Lahore along with another Pakistani great Waseem Ahmad, when he was only 27 years of age but on 4 July 2006, he decided to return to the international hockey.

Sohail Abbas's finest moment for Pakistan in 2010 was to be the 2010 Asian Games.On 25 November 2010 in the Malaysia v Pakistan final, during the 28th minute of the match, Abbas scored a penalty corner to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead. Rehan Butt scored a goal 4 minutes after half time to extend the lead to 2-0. Pakistan won the Asian Games

In 2011, he was the top scorer for Pakistan with 21 goals to his credit.

To summarise Sohail Abbas' achievements:-                              

Fastest 100 goals

Fastest 200 goals

Broke the record of 267 goals of Netherland’s Paul Litjen

Present World Record holder of 345 goals

Highest hat-ricks holder

Highest total of 7 goals in a match

Represented World 11 in Alexandra, Egypt.

Close to his mother, he describes her as "my greatest supporter. I credit her with all I have achieved." His heroes of different sports are Shahbaz Ahmed Sr, Diego Maradona, and Andre Agassi.