PM announces hefty prize money for Pakistan hockey team

Pakistani team given a heroic welcome at Lahore Airport upon their return to country

Sports Desk
PM Shehbaz Sharif (left) and Pakistan hocky players (right). — Reuters/X/@FlashSukan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a hefty prize of Rs1 million for each player of the Pakistan hockey team, who returned home on Sunday, after emerging runners-up in the recently-held Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024.

The prize money has been announced for the players' impressive performance at the hockey tournament. 

Pakistan lost to Japan 4-1 on a penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2 in the normal time. The Japanese goalkeeper made two excellent saves in the shootout which ended the Green Shirts’ hopes of lifting the title.

The Pakistani team returned to the country on Sunday where they were given a heroic welcome at Lahore Airport where Prime Minister Youth Program Chairman Rana Mashood, former captain Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool, Muhammad Saqlain and Anjum Saeed and other former players were present.

Remember, the final had to be decided on a shootout after both teams scored two goals apiece at the end of full time.

Japan took the lead in the shootout courtesy of Ryoma Ooka while his teammates continued the momentum, scoring the other three.

Meanwhile, Pakistan missed the first two whereas Ammad Butt netted the ball in the third stroke.

Japan staged a comeback to level the score 2-2 after Pakistan scored two goals in the third quarter. Kazumasa Matsumoto produced a second goal in the 47th minute.

In the third quarter, Pakistan came from behind as Ajaz Ahmed netted the goal in the 34th minute while Abdul Rehman scored in the 37th minute.

Seren Tanaka scored the first goal for Japan at the 12th-minute mark and gained a lead.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan qualified for the final for the first time in 13 years.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2024 saw the conclusion of round matches on Friday with Japan and Pakistan finishing as the top two teams on the points table as both remained unbeaten throughout the round-robin matches.

Japan remained on the top with 13 points as they won four matches and drew only one while Pakistan stayed on the second position with 11 points.