Speaking at a press conference with Secretary Asif Bajwa and other tournament officials before the league’s grand opening at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) here on Tuesday, the PHF Chief said: ‘The talent discovered here will be groomed for the 2010 Youth Olympics and the 2013 Junior World Cup.’
‘That is why we have picked only under-18 boys. We are taking Nadra’s help in verifying their ages. Nadra’s officials, who arrived here on Tuesday morning, photographed and fingerprinted each boy to check if there was any record of anyone’s identity card in their databases,’ he added.
While, stressing on the importance of working from the grassroots, the former Olympian said that the PHF will be organising several domestic tournaments in order to monitor the work going on at the junior level and its respective associations.
‘After the Benazir Shaheed Gold Cup (Oct 14) in Islamabad, we also intend holding an inter-academy tournament from Dec 13 to check the progress being made at the academies. This would be followed by the national championships, starting Jan 2, which would also be preceded by a tray championship from Dec 22 to Jan 1,’ he said while revealing their domestic programme for the coming few months.
Saying so, the 23rd president of the PHF reminded: ‘We have yet to complete a year with the PHF and you can already see so many wheels in motion. We have given some fine performances too in the recent past,’ he said while hinting at the silver medal in the Asia Cup and the England series win.
‘During this time, we also organised two women’s team tours which were not successful. The women can show better performance by more exposure, which we will be providing them in future,’ he added.
About the Super League, Qasim Zia announced that all the 10 teams taking part in it have been franchised starting with the host team of Karachi, which is now owned by City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal and the City District Government Karachi (CDGK).
‘Similarly, the Larkana team has been sponsored by Engro, Quetta by Maymar Builders, Multan by Colony Textiles, Lahore by Rose Petal, Faisalabad by Atlas Honda, Sialkot by Maak Sons, Islamabad by Bahria Town, Peshawer by Habib Rafiq (Pvt) Ltd and Abbottabad by Bio Amla Shampoo,’ he announced while adding that each team had been franchised for Rs1 million.
The tournament causing expenditures of up to Rs10 million includes Rs2 million in prize money with Rs700,000 for the winners, Rs500,000 for the runners-up and Rs200,000 for the third position holders apart from individual prizes for best player (Rs100,000), best goalkeeper and highest scorer (Rs50,000 each) along with a prize of Rs5,000 for the man of each match.
‘The money for organising this tournament has been generated from sponsorships and franchising alone and not from the PHF budget,’ he said.
About attracting crowds to the stadium during Ramazan, the federation chief said that they would be organising raffle draws with cash prizes of Rs10,000 each day for which the coupons will be sold during the halftime of the 9.30pm match.
According to the schedule, there will be three matches played each day under floodlights at 6.30, 9.30 and 11.30pm.
Qasim Zia also mentioned that they had assurance from Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) that there would be no power failures during matches.
While referring to a question about the conditions at the new Haji Camp, where the guest teams were to stay, Qasim Zia said that fresh arrangements have been made to shift the players to hotels.
Meanwhile, PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa said that the PHF was holding the event in Karachi as it considered it to be an important venue.
‘Karachi’s contribution to hockey in the past cannot be ignored. This is also why we have two hockey academies operating in the city. We hope to organise most high-profile and elite tournaments in this city alone,’ he stated.