The Pakistan national field hockey team (Urdu: پاکستان قومى ہاكى ٹیم) is administered by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), the governing body for hockey in Pakistan. They have been a member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) since 1948 and founding member of the Asian Hockey Federation (ASHF) which formed in 1958. Pakistan is the most successful national field hockey team in the Hockey World Cup with four championships: 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994. Pakistan also has the best overall performance in World Cup history in both proportional and absolute terms with 53 victories in 84 matches played, seven time draws, six appearances in the finals and only 24 losses. Pakistan national team has played in all FIH World Cup editions with only one absence in 2014. The green shirts is also one of the most successful national teams in the Asian Games with eight gold medals: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1990 and 2010, the highest number of times a country has come first, and the only Asian team to have won the prestigious Champions Trophy with three championships: 1978, 1980 and 1994. Pakistan have won a total of 29 official international titles to professional and grassroots level selections, with three gold medals in the Olympic Games field hockey tournaments in Rome 1960, Mexico City 1968 and Los Angeles 1984. However, Pakistan could not qualify for Olympics since 2012.
For the 1958 Asian Games, Pakistan were drawn against Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and archrivals India. They beat Japan 5–0 in their first match, then followed two consecutive victories over South Korea (8–0) and Malaysia (6–0). In the last match Pakistan drew 0–0 with India and clinched its first gold medal in an international competition. This success was followed by in 1960 Rome Olympics where Pakistan played against in a group with Australia, Poland and Japan, winning all the matches. Pakistan then played the quarter-final round with Germany, winning the match 2–1 and advanced to the semi-final round where they defeated Spain. Pakistan eventually won the gold medal, defeating India 1–0 with a goal by Naseer Bunda in the final round held at the Olympic Velodrome and ended India's run of six successive gold medals at the Summer Olympic Games.
In 1969, President of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Air Marshal Nur Khan was the first senior hockey official who had floated the idea of organizing field hockey's very own World Cup. He proposed his idea to the FIH through Patrick Rowley, the first editor of World Hockey magazine. Their idea was approved on 26 October 1969, and adopted by the FIH Council at a meeting in Brussels on 12 April 1970. The FIH decided that the inaugural World Cup would be held in October 1971, in Pakistan. Khan went on to donate the World Cup trophy and later the Champions Trophy to the International Hockey Federation.
The Golden Era (1970–1995)
In the group stage of the 1970 Asian Games, Pakistan was competing with tournament hosts Thailand and contenders Japan for top spot and a place in the finals. In their first match of the group, Pakistan scored thrice against Japan to clinch their first win, followed by defeating Hong Kong 10–0 to go to the top of the group. The team then draw 0–0 with Thailand and progressed to the knock-out round, where they won 5–0 over Malaysia. In the final, Pakistan faced India, winning 1–0 and sealing their third Asian Games gold medal.
In 1971, the first-ever Hockey World Cup was to be hosted by Pakistan. However, political issues would prevent that first competition from being played in Pakistan. The FIH had inadvertently scheduled the first World Cup to be played in Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Furthermore, Pakistan and India had been at war with each other only six years earlier. When Pakistan invited India to compete in the tournament, a crisis arose. Pakistanis, led by cricketer Abdul Hafeez Kardar, protested against India's participation in the Hockey World Cup. Given the intense political climate between Pakistan and India, the FIH decided to move the tournament elsewhere. In March 1971, coincidentally in the same month Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan, the FIH decided to move the first Hockey World Cup to the Real Club de Polo grounds in Barcelona, Spain, which was considered a neutral and peaceful European site. On 27 March 1971, in Brussels, the trophy was formally handed to FIH President Rene Frank by H.E Masood, the Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium. A total number of 10 teams qualified for the event and were broken up into two groups. The Pakistani team was drawn in a group with hosts Spain, Australia, Japan and the Netherlands. The group was topped by Spain and Pakistan respectively, and both the teams advanced into the semi-finals. In the first semi-final of the tournament Pakistan ousted India 2–1 in a tense and closely contested game and in the second semi-final Spain played safe and defeated a spirited Kenya 1–0 to enter the finals against Pakistan. In the final Pakistan scored early but then strengthened its defense to hold out a 1–0 victory and win the first hockey World Cup, retaining its number one position in the world hockey rankings, closely followed by India and the Netherlands. Tanvir Dar finished as the top goal scorer at the tournament with eight goals.
The motif of the Pakistan national field hockey team has a star and crescent on a dark green field; with a vertical white stripe at the hoist, usually in green, white color, as represented in the flag of Pakistan.
Pakistan played at a number of different venues across the country, though by the time of 1978 this had largely settled down to having National Hockey Stadium (also known as Gadaffi Hockey Stadium, named after former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi) in Lahore as the primary venue, with Faisalabad Hockey Stadium and Hockey Club of Pakistan used on occasions where the National Hockey Stadium was unavailable for home matches. The stadium is considered to be the biggest international field hockey stadium in the world and holds a capacity of 45,000 spectators.