Tokyo 2020: ex-master Zafar Iqbal gives advice to Indian hockey team

Hockey - Zafar Iqbal

Golden Memories: Zafar Iqbal (second from left, kneeling) was a key member of the Indian hockey team which won the last gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Image Credit: Provided

Calcutta: Olympic fever is slowly catching up to just three weeks, despite uncertainty over whether it will be a closed-door affair in Tokyo. As with every edition of the Games in the past four decades, the aspirations of Indian hockey fans are on the rise again to end the medal drought – and Zafar Iqbal – a Moscow member in 1980 when they won. the gold medal for the last time is no exception. .

“The men’s team is now ranked fourth in the world, which in itself is a great achievement. I kept an eye on their performances during the tour against Argentina, where they played well, ” said Iqbal, 65, who played under Vasudevan Baskaran’s captain in 1980 before being him- same captain four years later in Los Angeles 1984..

The memory of 1980 will remain etched in me forever. It was more than a personal accomplishment because it was also a great moment for the country. It was the eighth hockey gold for the country, which is a record that is sure to last a long time.

– Zafar Iqbal, Indian hockey captain at the 1984 Olympics

“I just have to say that the Olympic atmosphere is very different from the test matches. There is no room for slips or experiences here, and the self-confidence and self-determination of each player will be the most valuable traits for the team, ”he said in a statement. conversation with Hockey India.

It may be four decades since its moment of glory, but the dreaded one left inside the front still remembers every frame. “The memory of 1980 will remain etched in me forever. It was more than a personal accomplishment because it was also a great moment for the country. It was the eighth hockey gold for the country, which is a record that is sure to last a long time, he said.

“It was a tough campaign for us because most of this team were young players and newbies at the Olympics. I think only Vasudevan Baskaran and goalkeeper Bir Bahadur Chhetri had played in the 1976 Olympics before. I remember the final against Spain was a really tough game. Mohammed Shahid was our key player in the final, and he played amazingly that day. “

A former national team coach as well, Iqbal had the distinction of being the flag bearer of the Indian Olympic contingent at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

While Iqbal has had a distinguished playing career filled with many highlights, he remembered one particular game as his fondest personal memory. “I still remember the 1982 Champions Trophy match against Pakistan in Holland. We were down 3-0 against our rivals at the start of this game and we came back with a vengeance to win this game 5-4 at the end. Rajinder Singh Jr. scored three goals in that game to lead us to a memorable victory. It was a great feeling. “

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