KARACHI Two times champion PIA having one of the strongest team is eying the national hockey title third time in a row in the NBP sponsored 57th National Hockey Championship which starts here Saturday at the Hockey Club of Pakistan. PIA will face Navy on Saturday in its opening match of the 10-team competition which will be played on single league format. Three matches will be played on the opening day. Wapda face Army in the first match at 1.30 PM. Navy face PIA at 3PM in the second match and NBP meet Air Force at 4.30PM in the third match. Three matches will be played each day. Last time when PIA clinched the national title they were a bit lucky when they defeated challengers NBP on goal difference after the two equally balanced teams tied on points table. However, once bitten NBP twice shy which also claim to be a strong outfit, this time ready to stop PIA from taking the title third time. The Bankers could be spanner in the works of the PIA which will be managed by former Olympian Shahid Ali Khan and coached by aggressive striker of yesteryears Saleem Sherwani. NBP will meet Pakistan Air Force in its inaugural match on Saturday late in the evening. The match would also be treated as the inaugural match of the competition. Other team which can prove dark horse of the competition is Army. The superfit soldiers in recent years had improved considerably. Once rated among top teams, Army is now a force to reckon with and with bit of luck they could upset many dreams. As the championship will be played on single basis, fitness of the team would prove decisive in the later part of the championships. The Karachi Hockey Association which has been given the honor to host the event the first after New Delhi World Cup debacle has completed all the arrangements. A media briefing was held here Friday at the HCP to provide details about the championship. Among those who spoke to the press were tournament director of the championship Iftikhar Syed, secretary KHA Farooq Khan, president Gul Faraz Ahmed Khan, and PHF joint secretary Rana Mujahid who specially flew here to inspect arrangements for the event. Speaking to the media, the former Olympian full back Rana Mujahid disclosed that the PHF chose KHA and Karachi to stage the second and the final phase of the championship. The PHF after the World Cup felt that a new beginning was needed for Pakistan hockey and chose Karachi as the place from where it would begin a new tournament to rebuild hockey in the country. He hoped that with a new selection committee, a new hockey team management which may be put in place in next 48 hours and Pakistan hockey would begin new journey. He requested all the stake holders in the game and the media to support hockey which needed all the backing. Answering a spate on question on the players age restriction clause, he said the age limit of 30 years for players was only for the national championship because it would be treated as trials to select Pakistan team for Azlan Shah. Younger players would get more chances to get selected because of the age limit, he added. He, however, made it clear that there was no age limit of players on any other event organised under the umbrella of the PHF. He also clarified that players who played at New Delhi World Cup were exempted from the age limit restriction. He said concern shown by department on the age restriction were true and the PHF had already written to its patron on the issue so that players employed in the departments were not victimised. The directive from the Prime Minister office on the issue may be issued any time to deal with the concern of the departments, he informed. Gul Faraz Ahmed Khan and Farooq Khan, speaking on behalf of the KHA, thanked PHF for allotting it the championship and assured that the event would be organised with all the respected and honor that it deserved. They hoped that hockey fans in large number would visit the HCP to watch some exciting action. International umpires manager Rashid Butt informed about the new penalty corner rule which will be implemented in the championship for the first time in Pakistan. Under the new FIH rule, line breaking during penalty corner would be penalized by removing the defending charging the player from the goal line to the center line. In case the goal keeper breaks the line, he would also be sent to the center line. There would not be substitution of penalised players and the defending team had to defend with the players present on the goal line. He said under the new rule penalty corner pusher would also be penalised in the same manner if he fakes a push to upset the defenders. Two other rules are free hit and hit inside the 25 meters would also be implemented, he said. Following officials have been appointed to organize the championship. Tournament Director: Mr. Iftikhar Syed Karachi, Organizing Secretary M. Farooq Khan-Karachi Umpires Manager: Rashid Mehmood Butt -Railways, Assistant Umpires Manager Saeed Ahmed -Karachi, Jamil Butt -Army, Dilawar Hussain Bhatti -WAPDA Umpires: Haider Rasool -ABL, Syed Zulfiqar Haider -Police, Rana Muhammad Liaqat -AG Punjab, Muhammad Mushtaq -WAPDA, Kamran Sharif -Army, Anwar Hussain -Army, Khawaja M. Naveed -Rawalpindi, Ali Abid -Rawalpindi, Syed Kamran Shah -WAPDA, Haque Nawaz -Haripur, Chaudhary M. Tanveer -Karachi, Mohsin Ali Khan -Karachi, Faisal Ismail -Karachi, Hanif-ud-Din -Karachi, Raja Anwar Kamal -Karachi, Muhammad Arshad -Karachi, Shahid Pervaiz -Karachi, Kamran Hussain -Army, Tehsin Raza -Multan, Muhammad Sajid -Bahawalpur. Following committees have been formed for the smooth running of the championship. Reception Committee: Wasay Jalil, M. Shafique, Gulfaraz A. Khan, Iftikhar Syed, Rao Saleem, M. Farqoq Khan, Dr SA Majid, Riaz Uddin, M.Asif, Ahmed Alam, Mumtaz Haider, Waseem Feroz, Ajaz Uddin, Shabib Abbas, Jan Muhammed, Syed Shujaat Ali Naqvi, Muhammad Ali, Abdul Ghafoor, Farhat Khan, lrshad Haider, M. Abdullah Disciplinary and Scrutiny Committee. Ahmed Alam, Gulfaraz Ahmed Khan, Danish Kaleem, Arif Hiyat, M. Asif Ground Committee: Javed Iqbal, Qadeer Ahmed, Rana Muzaffar, M. Zahid Mahmood, Irfan Qureshi Media Committee: Zahid Ghafar, Shahid Pervez, Asif Ahad Qureshi, Mazhar Jabal Puri. Announcement Committee. Ghulam Muhammad Khan, Riazuddin, Shahid Pervaiz Reception Committee:- Azmat Pasha, Ehtasham Warsi, Talat Mehmood. Security Committee: Ejaz Uddin, Arif Hayat, Shoaib Rifat, Zahid Mehmood Finance Committee. Arif Hiyat, Talat Mehmood, Javed Iqbal, Shahid Habib, Zulfiqar Hussain Medical Committee: Dr. Pervez Rizvi, Dr. Aksi, Dr. Nadeem Refreshment Committee:- M. Azeem Khan, Musarrat Hussain, Rao Javed, Anwer Farooqi, Naseem Hussain Ball Picker/ Score Board: M. Saghir Hussain, Rana Muzafar. Technical Committee: Shams-uz-Zaman, Saeed Ahmed, Rashid Ali Khan, Shoaib Rafat, Qamar Riaz.