Sohail Abbas (Urdu: سہیل عباس) (born 9 June 1977 in Karachi) is a field hockey defender and penalty corner specialist from Pakistan. He is the highest scorer of goals in Hockey breaking Dhyan Chand’s record 274 goals for the most goals scored in international competition] with his current goal tally at 328. (on 30.06.2011).
When he made his international debut during the 7th Pak-India series 1998, his role was only to come from the bench for penalty corner drills. His debut was at Peshawar’s Lala S.M. Ayub Hockey Stadium on Saturday, 28 February 1998. Pakistan manager Islahuddin Siddiqui effected a substitution midway through the tie, but failed to make an impact. He failed to score in three penalty corners as Pakistan won 4-1. The following day, on 1 March 1998, in the second test at Rawalpindi’s Army Hockey Stadium, Abbas announced his arrival on the international scene in dramatic fashion, scoring a drag flick from a penalty corner which proved to be the match-winner in Pakistan’s 2-1 victory.
When the rule was changed after the 1998 World Cup, he was not considered for the 16th Commonwealth Games by coach Shahnaz Sheikh. But he staged a comeback to win silver in Lahore’s 20th CT and bronze in Bangkok’s 13th Asian Games in the same year.
Abbas has scored 300 international goals as of 9 December 2009, surpassing the 22-year-old record of Dutch penalty corner specialist Paul Litjens. He retired in December 2004, just after the Champions Trophy in Lahore along with another Pakistani great Waseem Ahmad, when he was only 27 years of age but on 4 July 2006, he has decided to return to the international hockey. Since the summer of 2005 he and Waseem have both played for Dutch club Rotterdam. He struck his 33rd goal to break Mark Hager’s 9-year old record. His 33rd goal emerged from penalty-mark when he converted 66th minute penalty-stroke against India in Pakistan’s 2-1 win on fourth day of 26th Champions Trophy. The Australian striker had registered 32 goals from 1985 to 1995. He took 11 editions for his 32 goals while Sohail did the needful in his 6th CT and added another on 12 December tie to make his final Champions’ Trophy total 34 .
Sohail was also leading scorer at the 2000 Olympic Games, Athens, with 11 goals, and of the 9th Indo-Pakistan series, with seven goals. Mixing his impressive hitting abilities with drag-flicks, Abbas has proved himself to be the world’s most consistent drag-flick converter, his success rate over 65% mark. Sohail was the key figure when Pakistan won a place at the Athens Olympic Hockey Tournament by finishing third at Madrid’s Olympic Qualifier on 13 March 2004. Three times Olympic Champion Pakistan also qualified for Sydney Olympics four years ago by taking part in Osaka ‘s Olympic Qualifier in March 2000. Pakistan finished second on the Japanese soil, with Sohail scoring 13 goals to finish as leading marksman. Sohail was also leading marksman at Madrid with nine goals. Four of these nine goals were against India in league encounter when he converted four out of four penalty corners. At Athens, he became the record Pakistani goalscorer in a single Olympiad, beating the 10-goal record of centre-forward Hassan Sardar, created at the Los Angeles Olympiad twenty years beforehand. Only Sohail, Sardar and Abdul Rashid Jr. have topped the goal scoring-chart in Olympics hockey. Rashid did it in 1968 when he was joint leader with Brian Glencross (Australia) and Prithipal Singh (India).
Sohail matched the world record on 4 October 2000 during the fifth test of the current series at the stadium named after Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand ; part of three gold medal-winning Indian teams in the Olympics – Amsterdam 1928, Los Angeles 1932 and Berlin 1936, where he was the captain. Sohail scored his 267th international goal at this historic venue from the 65th minute penalty-stroke. Sohail was already the holder of three world records in his six-year international career, before Amritsar’s landmark. He is the scorer of the highest number of goals (60) in a calendar year as well as the holder of the title of fastest century and double century of goals in international hockey. He reached double century of goals on 17 August 2003 at Wagener stadium when he struck twice in 6-5 thrilling win over Argentina during 25th CT.
2010 Hockey at the 2010 Asian Games 1999 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2000 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2003 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
1998 Hockey Champions Trophy 2004 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 1999 Hockey Asia Cup 2003 Hockey Asia Cup 2009 Hockey Asia Cup 2011 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
2002 Hockey Champions Trophy 2003 Hockey Champions Trophy 2004 Hockey Champions Trophy 1998 Asian Games 2002 Hockey at the Commonwealth Games