National Hockey Championship kicks off
LAHORE: (APP) Country's top 13 departmental hockey teams will display their talent and technique in the new format of the National Hockey Championship here on Friday (Dec 23) at the National Hockey Stadium.
In the new layout, only the departmental teams will play unlike the past practice of mixing up provinces with departments.
This was stated by Director Domestic and Development, Pakistan Hockey Federation, former hockey Olympian, Naveed Alam at a news conference on Thursday. Also present on the occasion were tournament director, former Olympian Mussadiq and organising secretary, Masood-ur-Rahman.
"In the previous events, departments always proved too strong for lowly rated rival provinces and now in the absence of the provinces, the departments will be facing stiff opposition from each other, who are equally good to take on the tough challenge," he said.
"The prime objective is to see how our senior and junior players perform and what is the standard and level of their game and that is the only way to judge their performance in a situation when no international hockey competition is taking place in Pakistan and Pakistan junior team was axed from the World Junior Hockey Cup.
He praised the efforts of PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad
Khokhar and Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad for ensuring steps for the revival of the game and said the departmental championship is a step forward to strengthen such efforts.
"There will be zero tolerance for breach of discipline and we will be putting everything in order to ensure smooth conduct of country's premier hockey activity," said Naveed Alam.
The PHF official revealed that there will be two league rounds of the event followed by the semi-finals and final.
Following is the formation of the Pools:-
Pool A: PIA, Navy, Railways,
Pool B: Wapda, SSGC, HEC
Pool C: NBP, Port Qasim, Police and PTV
Pool D: Army, SNGPL, PAF
"The 13 departmental teams will first figure in four pools of the 'Premier League' and two team finishing at the top of each pool will advance into the 'Super League'," said PHF official.
The eight teams making into the Super League will be further divided into two pools. The top two teams from each of the two pools of the Super League will then play the semi-finals, followed by the final on January 4.
Three matches are scheduled daily during the League stages. The first match will start at 10am (9:30 on Fridays). January 1 and 2 will be the two rest days.
The PHF Director Domestic said that there would be a separate championship for the regional teams after a few weeks.
Naveed said: "When the regional teams compete with the departmental sides, often one sided results are seen with the regional sides suffering big defeats."
The regional championships will see divisional sides rather than the provincial teams, he said. "Hopefully, around 30 divisional sides will be in the fray. Hence, a lot of new talent would be on display at the regional championships," he added.
A panel of 65 umpires and technical officials for the championships has also been named.