The ‘king of the drag flick,’ Sohail Abbas is the highest goal scorer in international hockey. The former Pakistani international scored 348 goals for the national team. He was nominated for the FIH player of the year five times. As a defender, Abbas was a drag flick specialist with a record conversion rate of over sixty percent success from penalties. He holds the international record of scoring sixty goals in calendar year which he achieved in 1999.
The scoring achievements of Sohail Abbas don’t stop there. He was the fastest player to reach a hundred international goals: two years, six months and eighteen days. Remarkably, he continued his red hot form becoming the fastest international player to reach two hundred goals, which he achieved in two years, six month and eighteen days.
How many goals did Sohail Abbas known score?
Retiring with an incredible tally of three hundred and forty eight international goals, Sohail Abbas well and truly earned himself the nick name, ‘The penalty king’. Included in that tally were the highest number of hat-tricks (twenty one) and one double hat-trick.
What were his achievements for his country?
Abbas is Pakistan’s all time top scorer in the Olympics, with nineteen goals scored in two Olympic games. His achievements in Pakistan’s colors didn’t stop there. Abbas is Pakistan’s top scorer in world cups with sixteen goals from three appearances. He became Pakistan’s record scorer in the Elite Champion’s trophy with overall forty goals, scoring a record eight of those goals in a single edition of the champion’s trophy.
What motivated Sohail Abbas to become the world's record field hockey scorer?
Born on 9th June 1977 in Karachi, Sohail was schooled at the Habib public school in Karachi, which has produced a remarkable number of popular hockey players. Like father like son, Sohail’s father, Syed Iftikhar Hussein was a well renowned sportsman, excelling as a first-class cricketer. He had two other siblings. One studied IT and the other a keen cricketer. Sohail was inspired by his mother whom he claims as his greatest supporter, while his uncle Safdar Abbas also played a major role in motivation and nurturing his love of hockey. His uncle who played in the world cup and scored at a very tender of 16, became his role model. Unlike many celebrities, he has kept his family out of the limelight and is said to lead a quiet life with his family.
Sohail surprised the world when he broke his own the world record of 52 goals in 1999 and scored a whopping 60 goals in a year. Apart from being the longest-serving captain of the national Pakistan hockey team, giving them 14 years of service. He has also played in in the Olympics, world cup, and other hockey leagues. Famous for scoring 21 hat tricks and a double trick, which has never been done by any field hockey player.
How did he become a bulwark for the national side?
Like many other young teens, Sohail had not discovered his talent and had a really hard time getting a breakthrough playing in the world of professional hockey. He eventually managed to get on the front foot with his fighting spirit, and enduring determination. Taking an opportunity in 1995, he first joining the Pakistani junior squad as a reserve player at Quetta in the 18 junior national hockey. Unfortunately he failed to convince the trainers that he was good enough, and therefore wasn’t picked for the Netherlands, Poland and Germany matches. After that, he was dropped from the Pakistan junior squad in 1995. This set back didn’t discourage him as he fought on and in 1997 he played for the Pakistan junior side, which won against Germany. Unfortunately, he was dropped and didn’t, therefore, participate in the world cup. Eventually, he trod on the right path, and in 1998 he scored 20 goals when for the first time Pakistan won the Azlah shah cup, and then the silver Asia cup. Since then, he never looked back as he became a success story and a bulwark of the national hockey team.
Sohail scored 10 goals and became the leading scorer in 8th Pakistan-India Series and was ranked 9th in the Azlan Shah Cup, scoring 12 goals. Following on as the fifth-best player in the Asia cup. However, the turning point to super stardom was in the 1999 world cup, when he scored 60 goals and instantly broke the 58 goals world record of Litjens. Furthermore, he broke Sardars national record of fifty goals in a year.
Sohail has quite rightly been described as a hockey ‘bullet’ in his ability to quickly complete a hundred international goals, then two hundred international hockey goals in record time. Moreover, Abbas was not even a forward in the game which makes his records even more eye opening.
Sohail was a leading scorer at the Sydney, 2000 Olympics with eleven goals, and later that year, of the 9th Indo-Pakistan series, with seven goals. Mixing his famed shooting ability with drag-flicks, Abbas proved himself to be the world’s most consistent drag-flick converter, his success rate of scoring was over 65%.
By far the star player when Pakistan won a place at the Athens Olympics by finishing third at Olympic qualifications at Madrid. Three times Olympic Champions, the national team also qualified for the Sydney Olympics by taking part in Osaka ‘s Olympic Qualifier in March 2000. Pakistan finished second on the Japanese soil, with Sohail scoring thirteen goals to finish as leading marksman. He scored eight goals at Sydney after a handsome display at Osaka’s Olympic qualifiers. Sohail was also leading marksman at Madrid with nine goals. His achievement at Japan was all the more remarkable considering he had only just returned to the fray after spending four months on the sidelines with a groin injury. His total goals in 2000 were twenty six, followed by thirty seven in 2001.
How long was the international career of Sohail Abbas?
It is interesting to note, Abbas scored the most goals in a single edition of the Asia Cup. and it is worth noting Interestingly, his tally of fifty nine goals in 2004 was only one goal less compared with his record of sixty in 1999. He retired after the London Olympics in 2012, when the team began to fade, failing to repeat earlier successes. During his free time, he appears on television shows discussing hockey, and also mentors and helps nurture young hockey talents.