Zafar Iqbal: In 1984, we were simply the best but…

August 29, 2017

Zafar Iqbal


Zafar Iqbal, captain of the Indian hockey team at the 1984 Olympic games, remembers his campaign while speaking to Times of India

We were a great hockey team in the 1984 Olympics. Everybody predicted an Australia and India final for the gold medal.

But destiny had other plans.
We needed to beat West Germany to play the final. Three minutes to go, the scores at 0-0, I got a chance. A flying ball came at me at almost chest-height and I had just a fraction of a second to react. I noticed a small gap between the Germany goalkeeper’s leg and the post. It was gettable, practice and instinct teaches you that. Nine times out of ten, we would have threaded the ball in. But when I took the shot, it hit the post and flew out. Unbelievable! It ended in a draw and we failed to make it to the semifinals. That was a huge heart-breaking moment.

We were a very strong team in 1984. We did not lose a single game barring the one against Australia.

After the draw with Germany, we won the next two matches to finish fifth, but failing to beat West Germany was a very sad moment for us. But that’s sport for you. It teaches you a lot of things. Despite all of your skills and everything, you also need a little bit of luck. Some other day, that shot could have been a goal. Like with Sindhu, if some shots had gone her way or, if she had that fraction of luck more, the match could have gone her way.

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