KARACHI: The 28 National Women Hockey Championship 2014, which is the premier event of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) women’s wing, begins at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Wednesday with 10 teams representing eight affiliated units competing for honors.
Hosts Sindh and Punjab has fielded two teamsapiece in the competition which concludes on April 4. Other teams taking part in the event are Wapda, HEC, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Railways, Army and Balochistan. Islamabad has expressed regret at the last moment.
All the outstation teams with the exception of HEC have reached in the city at the time of filing this piece. Provincial teams of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan and outstation players of Sindh teams been lodged in the hostel adjacent to the venue.
The teams have been equally drawn into two pools and top two from each will qualify for the semi-finals.
Pools: A: Wapda, HEC, Punjab Colours, Sindh Colours and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
B: Railways, Army, Sindh Whites, Balochistan and Punjab Whites.
The details of the spectacular event were unveiled by chairperson of PHF women’s wing Khushbakht Shujat at a press conference, held at the HCP Stadium on Tuesday.
She was flanked by Tanzeela Amir Cheema, secretary women’s wing who has specially come from Lahore, and Erum Bokhari, secretary, Sindh Women’s Hockey Association (SWHA).
The former legislator, who also heads the SWHA, was optimistic while throwing light on long term goals with no penny in the kitty yet and the estimated budget of national championship is approximately Rs2.5 million.
She hoped the PHF would soon release the funds it had promised and added that efforts were afoot to raise the required amount through various sponsorships.
“We are determined to take the game at par with men by infusing new spirit among womenfolk and bringing an end to male domination in women’s hockey,” she said.
The chairperson expressed her gratitude to Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Sindh Senior Education Minister Nisar Khoro, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui, Sindh Rangers DG, Sindh Police IG, PHF officials, media and her team for their support.
Speaking on the occasion, the secretary said since assuming the role on Nov 25 last year, the provincial units of the women’s wing have made con- certed efforts by staging their respective Inter-division championships in a short span of time.
She spelt out number of plans including sending national teams to Holland on a goodwill tour, Asian Club Championship at Kazakhstan and fourth Asian junior hockey championship at Bangkok.
Tanzeela said the government should put binding on the PHF while releasing them special grant to allocate 20 or 25 percent of the same for promotion of women’s hockey.
She was confident that a pool of women’s judges, umpires and coaches would be raised in next three years time.
She disclosed that PHF secretary has send 126 hockey sticks to the city that will be distributed among women’s players.
Nisar Khoro will formally inaugurate the championship on Wednesday at 10am.
Formidable Wapda will defend their title in the event.
Wednesday’s fixtures: At 9.00am: Army v Balochistan
At 10.30am: Punjab Whites v Sindh Whites
At 12noon: Punjab Colours v Sindh Colours
At 2.00pm: Wapda v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.