KARACHI: Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) on Thursday approved plans of a new hockey stadium in Islamabad named after national hero and Olympian Mansoor Ahmed.
The recommendation was forwarded by Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary Shahbaz Ahemd Senior, where he suggested that the stadium should be built in the PSB Sports Complex, to which the executive committee said yes.
The new stadium will be located adjacent to Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium and will honour the late Olympian who died in Karachi after suffering from a heart ailment.
“This is a great step by the PSB and also the secretary PHF who presented this suggestion. Mansoor had done a lot for Pakistan and the way he left us was not how a hero should have,” Olympian Islahuddin told The Express Tribune.
He added: “I hope that other heroes, who have done so much for Pakistan hockey, should also be considered for the insurance plan so that they can get the treatment on time.”
The retired goalkeeper, 49, passed away in Karachi on May 12 after suffering for weeks from complications stemming from a pacemaker and stents implanted in his heart and was not able to get proper treatment from abroad as he was not fit to travel.
Mansoor was a Pakistani sporting icon after he helped the country win their last World Cup title in 1994 with his stunning saves against the Netherlands in the final. Pakistan won the final 4-3 on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.
Mansoor had played 338 international matches for Pakistan and also featured in three Olympics and various other high-profile events in a career spanning from 1986 to 2000.
“The semi-final and final were very close games and were decided on penalty strokes. We won the semi-final (5-3) and final (4-3), which means it was Mansoor who gave us the memorable victories,” said former coach Khawaja Junaid who was also the part of 1994 World Cup winning team.
“Mansoor’s last penalty save against (Dutchman) Jeroen Delmee in the final was something we cannot forget. Mansoor served Pakistan with full energy and his services for the country would be remembered forever,” he said while remembering the victory of the 1994 World Cup.
The executive committee also approved Rs1 million aid for the wife of Mansoor Ahmed.
The approval will also see all Pakistani athletes receive health insurance so they can receive treatment for ailments on time.