BAHAWALPUR - PIA defeated Wapda 3-1 to lift the 9th Nishan-e-Haider Hockey Tournament title here at the Mutiullah Astroturf Hockey Stadium. The floodlight final was witnessed by a large crowd and Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada was the chief guest at the final.
The final started at a very fast pace. Both the teams comprising Olympians and internationals demonstrated their skill making aggressive moves and stick work which provided a real entertainment to the spectators. Wapda forwards’ a number of moves were either intercepted by the PIA defenders or their hits were bravely stopped by the goalkeeper. However, forward Tasawar Abbas got control of the ball from his half and sprinted into the PIA where he gave a beautiful pass to Usman Bhutta whose strong hit was deflected by Rana Umair into the goal post in the 21st minute. PIA forwards bounced back in a hostile way. Aamir Shahzad and Shafqat Rasool exchanged short passes between them and entered into the D where they earned two back-to-back penalty corners. Full back Ihsanullah succeeded to convert the second in the 23rd minute.
After that the final turned into a one-sided affair as the PIA completely dominated the proceedings which forced Wadpa to adopt a defensive strategy. PIA scored their second goal in the 45th minute as a beautiful move among Shafqat, Waqas Akbar and Inyatullah earned a penalty corner and Ihsanullah dragged the ball into the goal to give a 2-1 lead to his team. In the 64th minute, Shafqat took control of the ball from the 25 line and reached in the D amid beautiful dribbling where Inyatullah timely deflection earned the third goal for PIA. Munawwar Hussain and Kamran Sharif supervised the final. At the end, chief guest Riaz Pirzada gave away the winning Trophy to PIA’s captain Yasir Islam. Former Olympian Mutiullah and Maher Riaz, the chief organiser of the tournament also distributed prizes.
The chief guest vowed that the federal government was committed to combat terrorism through the medium of sports. He also vowed to lift the standard of national game and patronize the organisation of local tournaments to promote the dying game of hockey.
He added that the federal government was committed to provide hockey infrastructure to the aspiring sportsmen in small cities. He informed that installation of astroturfs in Sadiqabad, Vehari and Multan had been approved which would provide infrastructure to the hockey aspirants living in these areas. The minister lauded the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)’s efforts to hold trials throughout the country to find upcoming talent and hoped it would help in the development of the national game. “Such trials are imperative to find talent and the PFH has done a commendable job by organising these trials which will help us finding future stars.”