First National U-18 Hockey Championship 2016 begins at Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium in Islamabad today.
Sixteen teams from across the country would feature in the event
Speaking at a press conference here at Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Media Centre, director of the tournament Col (R) Ahmed Nawaz along with Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Olympian Shahbaz Ahmed Senior and other officials said 16 teams from across the country would feature in the event that would be concluded on June 2.
He said 13 teams had arrived in Islamabad, while two teams would reach late Saturday night. He said the FATA’s team had not confirmed their participation in the event.
“The championship will be played on league basis,” he said adding that the teams had been divided into four groups.
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada will inaugurate the championships.
He said the U-18 tournaments could help prepare a strong senior outfit within a few years. He hailed President PHF Brig (r) Kahlid Sajjad Khokhar stating that he was man of commitment. “Khokhar is very well a highly passionate person. But he needs our support, particularly of media,” he added.
He expressed the hope that said Shahbaz Senior would help Pakistan to achieve lost glory in hockey. “Shahbaz was the best hockey player during his days. I’m dead sure he will put Pakistan hockey back on track.”
Speaking on the occasion Shahbaz Senior said U-18 championship would help find players for future. “We want to work on three teams simultaneously, seniors, juniors and U-18. Majority of people don’t know juniors will take part Junior World Cup Hockey in India in December, while U-18 team will participate in Asia Junior Cup in Muscat by the end of year. We want to prepare strong teams for these events,” he maintained.