The City of Houston Councilman Masrur Javed Khan on behalf of Mayor Bill White handed the Proclamation Certificate of Houston Honorary Citizenship to Former Field Hockey Gold Medalist and Pride of Performance Islahuddin Siddiqui at a ceremony in local restaurant, in the presence of prominent members of the community.
Islahuddin Siddiqui was visiting family members and friends in Houston, after attending the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress Week in Los Angeles California, where he also attended meeting of FIH Rules Board (presently he is the only member on this important committee from Sub-Continent).
This decree of Houston Honorary Citizenship is given to personalities, who have immensely contributed to the world society in various fields and the City of Houston wants these personalities to become goodwill ambassadors, by informing about the hospitability and uniqueness of this city of diversity (immigrants of more than 90 cities reside in this city).
This program was specially arranged by close friend of Muzaffar Siddiqui and his friends like Dr. Azam Kundi, Attorney Noami Hussein and others. The Honorable Consul General of Pakistan Aqil Nadeem and salient members of Islahuddin family were in attendance.
On this occasion, Islahuddin gave Pakistan Hockey Team Ties as souvenirs to Consul General Mr. Nadeem, Councilman Mr. Khan and Officer Siddiqui.
Consul General Aqil Nadeem, Councilman M. J. Khan, Muzaffar Siddiqui, Former Swimmer of Pakistan and President of Pakistani-American Council of Texas (PACT) Sajjad Burki and Director of Karachi University Alumni Ghulam Mohiuddin Chisti gave glowing tributes to this super-hero of Pakistan. They emphasized that books should be written and videos should be archived of heroes like Islahuddin for the generations to come and benefit from their experiences. Islahuddin himself is writing a book, which will soon be launched.
Amidst standing ovation, Islahuddin came to the podium and gave a most thoughtful presentation about Pakistanâ€™s Sporting Glory of the past in Field Hockey, Cricket, Squash, Snooker and other sports and the present downturn. He combined serious talk with colorful jokes, which everybody enjoyed. Everyone was impressed that despite being a big star, Islahuddin has a down to earth personality.
Islahuddin said that in various facets of life, things go up and down. Things may not bright at the moment, as we are going through a recuperating phase. As far as Hockey is concerned, with proper planning and vision, we are confident that from existing limited pool of players and resources, we will see abundance of talent coming out and public-private sector coming together to provide enough resources to polish this talent into world champions, just like in the past. He informed that during his career, he played 130 matches, scoring 117 goals.
Islahuddin informed that Leandro Negre of Spain has been elected as the new President of FIH in place of Dutch Els Van Breda Vriesman and with that new appointments are expected in FIH. Under Els Van Breda Vriesman, he has been part of the Rules Board and informed that new rules and regulations are usually made to make the game exciting, high scoring, more marketable, etc. Players from sub-continent should keep these feelings aside that these rules are made against them: With such negative mindset, Asian Hockey cannot flourish.
Earlier the local freelance journalist (writer of this report) gave highlights of the career of Pride of Performance Islahuddin Siddiqui. He was born on January 10, 1948 in Meerat India and people of Pakistan are lucky that his parents migrated to Pakistan. He is a graduate of Karachi University and by profession is Collector in Customs. He was awarded Diploma of Merit by FIH. During his career as player from 1967 till 1979, he won 10 Gold, 3 Silver & 1 Bronze Medal and won various tournaments & series for Pakistan. As Manager and Coach of Pakistani Team, he won 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 1 Bronze Medal. He has also been a famous TV and Radio Commentator with very exciting and inspiring commentary.
Other than scoring over 100 goals and decisively contributing in the scoring of so many crucial goals being a right out, Islahuddin also had this immense talent of running fast, which helped him to make the dash during the penalty corner to distract world renowned penalty corner experts like Paul Litjens (Holland) and Wolfgang StrÃ¶dter (West Germany), in not scoring most of the time against Pakistan.
Islahuddin informed that in Montreal Olympics 1976 during the Third and Fourth Position match, after missing eight penalty corners, Paul Litjens out of frustration on the instruction of his coach deliberately hit the ball into Islahuddinâ€™s right knee during the ninth penalty corner to put Islahuddin out of the game for months. Later on in the Olympics Village, Paul Litjens, a lawyer by profession and his good friend outside the ground, was the first person to visit Islahuddin and said sorry by admitted he did that deliberately out of frustration.
Islahuddin had the distinction of captaining the Pakistani team to Grand-Slam in the year 1978 by winning all the major tournaments that year, including Buenos Aires Argentina World Cup, First Champions Trophy, Asian Games and first ever Pakistan-Vs-India Series. Islahuddin received Pride of Performance Award from Government of Pakistan in 1982.
One of the most memorable tournaments of Islahuddin World Cup 1978, where he scored the only and winning goal in sudden-death against West Germany in the Semi-Final, scored the equalizing goal against Holland in the Final and right towards the end of the game, Holland got Penalty Corner and that tournamentsâ€™ highest scorer Paul Litjens was to take the hit, but due to superb dash by Islahuddin, the ball went out and Pakistan won by 3-2. Pakistan remained the only undefeated team in that World Cup under the leadership of Islahuddin. Pakistanis played such attractive hockey that Islahuddin informed three players of Argentina were also in their countryâ€™s football (soccer) team and told him they learnt from Pakistani Hockey Team techniques to win the World Cup Soccer at home that year.