The benefit match in Rotterdam for the victims of the south Asia earthquake was a spectacular success on Wednesday night, with more than €21 million euro pledged in a nation wide fund raising drive across the Netherlands.
More than 7500 spectators packed HockeyClub Rotterdam for the match, with the event itself contributing an incredible €925,000.
The match was shown live in the Netherlands and also into parts of Asia by Ten Sports, a broadcast partner of FIH.
Only five days before the match, the co-operating Dutch public television stations decided that the match would be the central item for nation wide relieve action to raise as much money as possible money for the Kashmir-earthquake victims
The match was an initiative of Hockey Club Rotterdam, the present club of two former Pakistan-internationals, penalty corner specialist and world top scorer Sohail Abbas and Waseem Ahmad. The initiative was supported by the Dutch national hockey association (KNHB).
The clubhouse at Hockey Club Rotterdam was transferred in a huge television studio for the night with 14 cameras used for the broadcast.
Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander made a surprise visit to the stadium and also former UNHCR-commissioner (and former Dutch prime minister) Ruud Lubbers attended the match.
Sohail Abbas, Holland-captain Jeroen Delmee en Teun de Nooijer together climbed into the stands to welcome the crown prince.
Before the match there was a kick off by former Dutch internationals Ties Kruize, Maarten van Grimbergen, Joost Claushuis, Job van der Have, Arno den Hartog and Paul Lintjens, who all took a penalty stroke. The all played for Holland in the memorable match in Karachi when Holland beat Pakistan 1-0.
During halftime, famous Dutch sportsmen and women took also penalty strokes (for money) on the goal defended by Dutch goalie Guus Vogels. Those sporters where former hockeyinternational and national coach Tom van ‘t Hek, Davis Cup-captain Tjerk Bogstra, boxing champion Don Diego Poeder, hockeyinternational Fatima Moreiro de Melo and former FC Barcelona-coach Louis van Gaal.
Also the mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Ivo Opstelten took a penalty stroke, for which he donated one euro for each of the 600.000 inhabitants of the city of Rotterdam.
After the match, an internet auction for the shirts of all participating players began.
Sohail was ‘touched’ by the event. In a direct speech to the people in Pakistan, he expressed his feelings and explained why he and his friend Waseem Ahmad took this initiative.
“In our hearts and in our thoughts, we are with you in Pakistan,’’ he told the Pakistan people via satellite.
“It’s great that this even has grown to a mega spectacle,’’ Johan Wakkie, director of the Dutch hockey association added.
“Via emails from Pakistan we understood the people over there appreciated the initiative very much.’’
Dutch crow prince Willem-Alexander, who is also a IOC-member, told to have enjoyed the special match.
“Such a thing makes you proud. I’ve watched the event here in Rotterdam with a very special feeling.’’
For the record, the match between the Dutch national team coached by Roelant Oltmans (who was national coach of Pakistan two years ago) and the All Star-team, coached by Alejandro Varga from Argentina (coach of Amsterdam), was won by the Netherlands 7-4. For the Netherlands, goals were scored by Taeke Takema (3), Karel Klaver, Roderick Weusthof, Rob Reckers en Geert-Jan Derikx. For the All Stars, Sohail Abbas (2), Grant Schubert and Connor Grimes were the goal scorers.
Netherlands: Guus Vogels, Thijs de Greef, Geert-Jan Derikx, Karel Klaver, Rob Derikx, Ronald Brouwer, Taeke Takema, Jeroen Delmee, Teun de Nooijer, Floris Evers, Teun Rohof, Rob Reckers, Matthijs Brouwer, Jesse Mahieu, Nick Meijer, Roderick Weusthof, Timme Hoyng, Robert van der Horst and Jaap Stockmann.
All Stars: Bernardino Herrera (Spain), Philip Burrows (New Zealand), Troy Elder (Australia), Jamie Dwyer (Australia), Nitim Kumar (India), Vir Raja (India), Connor Grimes (Canada), Waseem Ahmad (Pakistan), Stephan Veen (the Netherlands), Sohail Abbas (Pakistan), Rob Short (Canada), Pol Amat (Spain), Grant Schubert (Australia), Dilip Tirkey (India), Matias Villa (Argentina), Sandeep Singh (India), Ben Hawes (England), Gagan Ajit Singh (India), Rodrigo Garza (Spain).
All the players of the All Star-team play in Dutch domestic league, except for goalkeeper Herrera who was flown in from Madrid, and former Dutch captain Stephan Veen.