Waseem Ahmed is a Pakistani field hockey playerand had been playing for the National team of Pakistan since 1996. He was born on 10th April, 1977 in Vehari situated near the city of Multan, Punjab. He belongs to a small town of the province with fewer facilities but yet full of talent and capability. He studied at Government College of Lahore which is now known as GC University of Lahore. He does not come from a sports background but achieved stardom solely on his own abilities. He started his career from Punjab division but made his international debut at the 16th Champions Trophy, 1996 held at Chennai, India.
He is regarded as the best left halfs in the world, became Pakistan’s most capped player. He was the 34th National Hockey Captain of Pakistan, the 17thcaptain to lead Pakistan in Champion Trophy tournament and the 7th midfielder to captain Pakistan.Playing in a position which is regarded as defensive, he proved the perception wrong and scored 6 goals in 303 matches. He led Pakistan to victory over India in 9th Indo-Pak Test Hockey Series. He was part of the team that won silver medals at Champions Trophy in 1996 and 1998. He has the honour of being the part of the team that won bronze medals in 2002, 2003 and then again in 2004. Similarly, he was part of the team that won silver medals in 5th and 6th Asia Cup and bronze medal in 13th Asian Games in 1998. Waseem has the unique distinction of being part of the team that has won Azlan Shah Cup on 3 different occasions. He remains the only player that has never been dropped due to his form. He is one of the two Pakistani players that have been selected by FIH to represent the World XI team to play Netherlands in 1999. He is one of the two Pakistani players to have played four World Cups consecutively.He once took retirement from International field hockey in December 2004 after playing his then last match against India in which Pakistan managed to win the bronze medal but due to his consistent performance in league matches, PHF brought him back to the National side in 2009. After his comeback he was again part of the team that managed to win the gold medal and also the title of Asian Champions at the Asian Games in China. He has again announced retirement after London Olympics, 2012.
The presence of Waseem Ahmed has always brought prestige to the team of Pakistan Hockey and it is all due to his professional consistency. He is one of those players who have positively contributed in lifting the morale of the team and has helped a lot in improving the image of Pakistan Hockey. Although hockey is the national game of Pakistan which has seen glorious era in 70s and 80s but nowadays has lost that spark and impression. Players like Waseem Ahmed have tried their best to pull up the declining image of Pakistan Hockey. His consistency has made him a legend in Pakistan Hockey.
FULL NAME: Waseem Ahmad
TOURNAMENTS WITH NATIONAL TEAM: Olympics 2000, 2004 -World Cups 1998, 2002, 2006 – Champions Trophies 1996-99, 20004, 2006 -Asian Games 1998, 2002 -Common Wealth Games 1998,2002
MAJOR NATIONAL TOURNAMENTS: National Championships from 1993 to 2006
SHIRT NUMBER: 6
Clubs: Rotterdam Hockey Club (Holland), WAPDA and Waseem Hockey Club (Vehari)
We: How did you get started with hockey?
Waseem: Actually my elder brothers played hockey so hockey is like a family game for me.
We: Who were the biggest influences on your career?
Waseem: My coach, Zafaryab
We: It’s always the goals scorers who grab the headlines. What made you decide on becoming a defender?
Waseem: From the start of my hockey carrier my teacher told me that you will play left half no other position you will play so thats way I started to play on the position of left half.
We: What is your favorite hockey memory?
Waseem: When I became the captain of Pakistan hockey team.
We: And your worst memory?
Waseem: When we lost semifinal of Olympics (2000 -Sydney) against Korea.
We: What are the strengths of your game?
Waseem: Tackling, ball control, interception and making right decisions on right time.
We: Weaknesses of your game, if any?
Waseem: My shooting in the circle area is not very good.
We: What makes a good Left-Half?
Waseem: Tackling, positioning in defense and confidence when you have the ball (specially when defender is going to clear the ball in pressure)
We: Is it difficult to make a living playing hockey in Pakistan?
I am not agreeing with this.
We: How do you balance your competitive hockey career with family and work?
Waseem: Its really very difficult to give much time to your family during your hockey career but we are lucky because hockey became our work also because we got the jobs.
We: Any suggestion to improve standard of hockey in Pakistan?
Waseem: We need to strengthen our domestic structure and need to educate our young players on club level.
We: How many caps for Pakistan?
Waseem: 303 caps
We: How many hours a week do you train?
Waseem: In training camp -almost 6 hours a day.
We: If you didn’t play hockey where would your life have taking you now?
Waseem: I cannot say anything.
We: What will you do when you finish hockey?
Waseem: Not sure yet but I want to do something on youth level if I got any chance or may be I will join my job.
We: Any advice for an aspiring young hockey player?
Waseem: Its the duty of our federation to do something for the promotion of hockey and high light the national players then they can inspire the young players.
We: Who are the best up-coming players for Pakistan?
Waseem: Zubair, Waqas Akbar, Ihsan-ullah and Abbas Haider.
We: How do you think the Pakistani national team will perform in the next four years?
Waseem: I wish that Pakistan team will perform very well but it seems difficult.
We: Holland has dominated men’s hockey over the last 4 years. Do you think that they will stay at the top of men’s hockey for years to come?
Waseem: Yes of course they will stay on top.
We: Something seems to be lacking in Pakistani Team. What do you think is the missing piece in the puzzle?
Waseem: Understanding in between the players. Pakistan team is not a team it seems like everyone has own mind, own thinking, nobody wants to leave his own philosophy for the sake of team so this is the main reason.
We: What ambitions do you still have in hockey?
Waseem: That Pakistan hockey will come again on top in world of hockey.
We: What do you do outside hockey?
Waseem: Nothing special spending time with family and friends.