Field hockey has a dedicated and loyal following. It has to as it certainly isn’t the biggest sport in the world, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the best. In fact, field hockey takes immense dedication and skill, which many other sports don’t require. Over the years, some professionals have separated themselves out from the rest, not just down to pure talent, but also due to hard work and determination.
The history of field hockey is incredibly rich, too. The game is believed to have derived from the Irish game of Hurling and its Scottish version Shinty, before being played by Mongolian people in China in what was a different version of the sport for well over 1000 years. It was then almost passed around the world before eventually being turned into the game we all know and love today. Since then, it has developed further into such a great sport that is played worldwide and has produced some truly remarkable talent.
In some countries, though, the game is covered far more than in others. Other than at the Olympics or major competitions, the all-around coverage can be poor on occasions.
The same doesn’t necessarily apply to other sports, as soccer fans are constantly inundated with content, they can watch match after match on the weekend featuring their favourite stars, spark debate on social media, have a go at some hockey punts with online betting UK sites, watch the highlights on YouTube, and a whole lot more. For field hockey fans, the same options don’t necessarily apply, which results in some of the most talented players having graced the game arguably not getting the coverage they deserve, especially in times gone by.
In order to remember some of the greatest players to have graced the hockey field, here is a look back at a selection of men and women who most definitely mastered the sport.
With 167 goals in 202 international matches for the Netherlands, we couldn’t really ignore Ties Kruize. What’s even more remarkable is that Kruize suffered a horrific car accident in 1975 and was told he could never play the sport again. Quite amazingly, the Dutchman defied the odds and went on to play a key role in the Dutch winning the World Championship in 1973, the European Championship in 1983, and the Champions Trophy in 1981 and 1982.
A legend in his home country of Pakistan, Sohail Abbas is the highest scorer in modern field hockey after reaching the 300-goal mark. He is also the fastest player to score 100 goals and then break the 200 goal barrier in international hockey history, alongside a whole host of other records he has set.
Regarded by many fans of the sport as being the greatest ever female player, Luciana Aymar was an amazing talent and was widely known for her immense dribbling skill. Nicknamed ‘The Magician’, the Argentinian won the FIH Player of the Year Award an impressive eight times and is credited with both of Argentina’s World Cup wins in 2002 and 2010.
Special mentions must also go to Dhanraj Pillay, Fergus Kavanagh, Hassan Sardar, Alyson Annan, and Mijntje Donners.
Aussie Jamie Dwyer is still playing today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate his immense contribution to the sport. He played a key role in Australia, winning the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, winning gold at the 2010 World Cup, alongside numerous bronze and silver medals in other competitions. Dwyer also won the IHF World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2007.