Tariq Aziz: Former captain of the Pakistani hockey team
At the end of the hockey final of the Mexico Olympics on October 26, 1968, when the national anthem of Pakistan was being played and the flag was being hoisted, the winning captain, Tariq Aziz, wore a gold medal on his chest. Were on
Under his leadership, the Pakistani hockey team not only regained the lost Olympic title but also gave new life to Pakistani hockey.
After losing to India in the final of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Pakistani hockey team also lost to its traditional rival in the final of the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games. I had changed my mind.
That is why when the Pakistani team was leaving for Mexico, it was not considered a favorite for the gold medal, but the great performance of the team in this Olympics is part of history and the winner who narrates these historic moments. If the captain of the team is Tariq Aziz, then he will go to sleep.
Tariq Aziz, 83, told BBC Urdu: “The training camp was set up in Lower Topa, near Murree, with an altitude of 7,500 feet above sea level in Mexico.”
“The players worked hard in this three-month long camp. The reins of the Pakistan Hockey Federation had fallen into the hands of Air Marshal Noor Khan while Brigadier Atif had been appointed team manager.
“Atif was severely criticized by some journalists at the time,” he said. Atif said that the critics sitting in Lahore should come to the camp and watch the preparation of the team and then write whatever they want. When these journalists came to the national camp and saw the training of the team, they had to change their mind.
‘Clear answer’ to Dutch manager
Pakistan started the Mexico Olympics by defeating the Netherlands by six goals, including three by Rashid Jr., three by Tanvir Dar and one by Asad Malik.
“The night before the match, I met the Dutch manager and he asked me what I thought about tomorrow’s match,” said Tariq Aziz. I patiently replied that it would be a good match but he said no. We will win this match. “
“I told him that I did not tell you that we would win, but now if you are saying that, listen, we will win tomorrow’s match.”
“The Dutch manager also told me that our team is afraid of one of your players, center forward Tariq Niazi, he is a very dangerous player,” says Tariq Aziz. No team in the world can beat us if we have them.
On hearing this, I replied, “Don’t worry.” We are not feeding Tariq Niazi in tomorrow’s match, we will feed a junior player and beat him.
“I used to go for a walk every evening with manager Atif,” says Tariq Aziz. The day before the match against the Netherlands, Atif asked me to feed the veteran Tariq Niazi or give a chance to new player Rashid Jr. for the position of center forward. During the conversation, it was decided that Rashid Jr. should be fed.
“Rashid Jr. was a very lucky player,” says Tariq Aziz. He did not score much during practice in the camp, but on the day Air Marshal Noor Khan visited the camp, he scored two or three goals.
Tariq Aziz says that Atif made important changes in the team after becoming the manager. He was preceded in death by Brigadier Hamidi, the manager who had expelled Rashid Jr. from the camp even though he had been selected by the selectors.
After becoming the manager, Atif fed Rashid Jr. a center forward instead of a right-winger and his experience was successful. Rashid Jr. proved to be the best scorer in his career.
Pakistan team did not lose any match
The Pakistani hockey team won all ten of its matches unbeaten at the Mexico Olympics.
Tariq Aziz talks about the group match against Australia: “At the end of the first half, Australia had a two-one lead. On this occasion Air Marshal Noor Khan was looking worried and was asking me what would happen? I reassured them, “Don’t worry, we will win this match.” We scored two goals in the second half. I scored both goals on penalty corners.
Pakistan had beaten West Germany by one goal in the semi-final after a tough contest.
Tariq Aziz says, “This match was tied at the appointed time. We also got a penalty stroke on one of my penalty corners but Saeed Anwar missed it.
The goal could not be scored even in extra time. In Sudden Death, right out Khalid Mahmood dodged three players and scored a beautiful goal to take us to the final.
‘Assad can’t take the country out’
“During the tournament, Atif told me that Air Marshal Noor Khan thinks we should try Laiq Uhud instead of Asad Malik, but I told him without talking to you that the captain is not agreeing,” says Tariq Aziz. So if they talk to you, give them the same answer. ‘
When Air Marshal Noor Khan mentioned this, I told him that I think we are winning because of Asad Malik. The team is also winning so I can’t get them out. This proved to be true because in the final against Australia, it was Asad Malik who scored the decisive goal to make Pakistan the Olympic champions.
Pakistan had scored a total of 26 goals in the Mexico Olympics, including seven by Rashid Jr., six by Tanvir Dar and five by Asad Malik.
When the Pakistani team returned home after winning the Mexico Olympics, like the Rome Olympics victory, the winners were taken to different cities where they received a warm welcome.
President General Ayub Khan announced the prizes for the players. The action picture of Asad Malik, who scored the decisive goal in the final, became the adornment of Pakistan’s stamp for the first time.
The government also announced the Pride of Performance Award for Captain Tariq Aziz and Khalid Mahmood.
Visit to the United Nations
“On his return from Mexico, the government arranged for the Pakistani team to visit the UN headquarters in New York,” said Tariq Aziz.
“The team also met with the then UN Secretary General Othant and on that occasion I presented him with a hockey stick signed by all the players.”
“I decided to retire from international hockey after the Mexico Olympics even though Air Marshal Noor Khan wanted me to play more,” says Tariq Aziz.
“They wanted me to play in an international tournament in my hometown of Lahore in March 1969, but I apologized. Coincidentally, on March 16, when both the teams of Pakistan were competing in the final of this tournament, I had my wedding on the same day and all the players participated in it, after which they went to play the final.
Hamidi hasn’t fed me for a year and a half
There were sharp differences between Tariq Aziz and Brigadier Hamidi. He mentions this in great detail.
Hamidi kept me out of the team for a year and a half. I also did some stupid things. In fact, we were both very angry. If they were angry, I would be more angry than them, that’s why things got worse. ‘
“There was a pre-Olympic tournament in London in 1967,” said Tariq Aziz. When the Pakistani team lost to both East Germany and West Germany, the team manager Hamidi told me to play the next match.
“I refused and said you haven’t fed me for a year and a half. Now that the team has lost, they want to open up to me and defeat me.”
Tariq Aziz says, “When Hamidi told me that you are in the team, I also replied that I have come on my own. You did your best not to join the team.
He claims that Hamidi got a call from Air Marshal Noor Khan. He told me that you will play tomorrow, this is my order. Then we beat the Netherlands, Belgium and India, and I scored against India.
Bhulu’s Akhara and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s meeting
“I was born on February 5, 1938 in Amritsar,” says Tariq Aziz. The neighborhood we lived in was famous for the arena of Rustam Hind Imam Bakhsh and his son Bhulu Pehlwan.
Bhulu’s uncle Hamida Pahlawan was also there. Seeing all this, I also became very interested in wrestling. I was eight or nine years old when I used to go to this arena. ‘
“I used to do a lot of exercise watching other wrestlers and I would be happy to put mud on my body. We used to prepare the arena before the competitions. The relationship with Bhulu Pehlwan and his brothers remained even after coming to Pakistan. Coincidentally, we also lived in the same neighborhood in Lahore.
Tariq Aziz also has fond memories of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s meeting in Amritsar and Sardar Shaukat Hayat’s wedding, as both times he sat with his father in a famous wrestling carriage.
‘Pakistan’s anthem rang instead of India’
Tariq Aziz was also part of the Pakistani hockey team that won a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
He specifically mentions the scene when India defeated Pakistan in the final but when it came to awarding medals, everyone was surprised that the national anthem of Pakistan started playing instead of India. The Indian anthem was stopped and played. In fact, the Japanese organizers thought that Pakistan had won the gold medal.
‘Bought a hockey stick and got it’
“I also played cricket and football as a child, but after matriculation I started playing hockey seriously,” says Tariq Aziz. In fact, a friend of mine asked me why you sit at home all the time. Come to the ground. So I bought a hockey stick and went to Manto Park where the senior players of the time used to come to play.
“In the beginning, I didn’t get a chance to play and he would give me the old ball and tell me to go out and play, but then slowly he started playing at the club level and during that time he also played in the finals of several tournaments. Then one day I realized that I could do something in this game and that thought took me further.
Tariq Aziz also came from Faisalabad Agricultural University for a long time. He joined the university in 1962 and retired in 1997 as Professor of Veterinary Medicine.