Lahore-Chaudhry Ikhlaq-owned Sialkot Bull became the second team of the 1st Super Kabaddi League after signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Strawberry Sports Management (SSM) here at the Punjab Stadium on Saturday.

Top six teams associated with the name of different cities of the country will feature in the league, which will be held on May 16 here at the Punjab Stadium under floodlights. Every team will consist of 10 players including some substitutes while the drafting of the league will be held in the end of this month.

Addressing the press conference here, Sialkot Bulls owner Ch Ikhlaq, who is a renowned businessman and sports organiser, has said that football, hockey and some other games are in the genes of Sialkot players, that’s why he has decided to step forward for the promotion of kabaddi, which is a traditional and cultural game of the country. Also present on the occasion were Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) secretary Rana Sarwar, former hockey Olympian Asif Bajwa, SSM CEO Haider Ali Daud and his elder brother Naeem and kabaddi officials.

“The main purpose of owning a team and supporting the league is to promote the game of kabaddi, not only at national level but also at international level, which will help in presenting very positive image of the country across the globe. Asif Bajwa will lead Sialkot Bulls team as a mentor and through his wide knowledge and experience, he will surely help the team excel in the league,” Ikhlaq added.

Olympian Asif Bajwa said that it was a great initiative taken by Strawberry Sports Management and the kabaddi federation. “Conducting this league successfully will help in flourishing and popularizing the game further and also assist in hunting fresh talent, which will contribute their part in bringing the game to new heights.”

PKF secretary, who is also Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) secretary, said that India staged their kabaddi league very successfully and we are also capable of holding the league in a trend-setting manner. “This league is going to be one of the most entertaining and enthralling sports event in the history of Pakistan sports and later with the participation of foreign players in it, it will become world’s renowned kabaddi league.”

Replying to a query regarding international players in the first season of the league, Sarwar said: “We have requested the government to allow us to invite international players to feature in the league, and if government allows us, we will surely include foreign players, but let me assure all, in the second edition of the league, every team will must have some international players, which will make it mega event of the world.”

SSM CEO Haider Ali said that this initiative would give our youth a platform to exhibit their prowess at higher level. “We want to involve our youth in healthy sports activities, and by holding this mega kabaddi league, we want to help our youth physically as well as financially.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Islamabad team has already signed an MoU with the Strawberry Sports Management while the next four teams will soon sign MoUs with the organisers and after this, the drafting of the league will be held in the end of this month.