KARACHI: Wapda won the 57th National Hockey Championship with 24 points after losing just once in the tournament.
National hockey players Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt ended the tournament with a goal each in the 4-1 win over Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) that confirmed Wapda’s success in the tournament. Waqas Sharif and Asif Michael also pitched in with a goal each.
Abbas Haider scored the only goal for the fighting SSGC side in the first half giving them a 1-0 lead but the more experienced Wapda netted four goals in the second half to come out as winners of the tournament.
“It was a team effort and I must say the team played well in all the departments of the game,” Pakistan centreforward Rehan Butt told The Express Tribune. “I wish we had the same coordination in the World Cup but I guess the victory in New Delhi was not in our fate.”
NBP v PIA
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) played their hearts out in the tournament as they ended up in second place with 19 points beating Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to the third position on goal difference. NBP drew the match with arch-rivals and defending champions Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Mohammad Taufeeq and Tariq Aziz scored one goal each for NBP while Shafqat Rasool and Mohammad Zubair netted the goals for PIA.
Army v PQA
Pakistan Army emerged as the most improved side in the tournament this year as they beat Port Qasim Authority (PQA) 3-2 on Sunday to finish fifth on the points table.
NBP’s fullback Mohammad Atiq netted 11 goals in the tournament with three hat-tricks in consecutive matches against Pakistan Air Force, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation and Port Qasim Authority.
“It is nice to get the topscorer award,” Atiq told The Express Tribune. “However, I’m waiting for the Pakistan Hockey Federation to do something about the three hat-tricks I scored. It is one of a kind record.”
Atiq had been dropped from the national squad last year but his hat-tricks have paved his way back to the national camp along with his NBP team-mate Mohammad Taufeeq.
The newly-appointed chief selector also chose the final day of the National Hockey Championship to name the 33 probables for the Azlan Shah Tournament that starts in Malaysia next month.
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