ISLAMABAD - Islamabad United failed to provide accreditation cards to majority of Rawalpindi-Islamabad sports journalists for an exhibition match against Quetta Gladiators on February 15 at Pindi Stadium.

United owner Ali Naqvi has promised that this time there would be no fuss like the previous year, when the sports journalists faced a lot of difficulties in getting their cards. Naqvi also directed United media manager Zukruf Khan to resolve the issue but he has just obliged a handful of his blue-eyed journalists while the genuine sports journalists are left high and dry.

When this scribe met with United CEO Shoaib Naveed at Pindi Stadium, where he was attending security-related meeting with Rawalpindi administration, to ask him about accreditation cards of sports journalists, he said Zukruf has sent details to all. When reminded Zukruf didn’t bother to contact sports community, he had no answers.

It is hoped that United and Gladiators owners would wake up, as it is not alone United’s show, the Gladiators reputation is also at stake so both should provide justice to sports journalists of twin cities and issue accreditation cards to them well before the match, or else they will be left with no other option but to boycott the event.  Quetta Gladiators’ responsible person contacted this scribe and promised to look into the issue and ensure genuine sports journalists to be provided the cards, as it is also their first-ever event in twin cities and they want to make it memorable one. Gladiators also announced the squad to face United on February 15.

Gladiators squad will consist captain Sarfaraz Ahmad, Moin Khan, owner Nadeem Omar, Abdur Razzaq, Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali, Ramiz Raja Jr, Umar Amin, M Junaid, M Azam Khan, Faraz Ahmad Khan, Nabeel Hashmi, Waqar Ali Syed and Hasan Omar. The celebrities, who would be seen in action for Gladiators, are film star Saud, actors Feroze Khan, Shahroze Sabzwari, singers Fakhir and Aima Baig. Former captain Misbahul Haq, Rumman Raees, Shadab Khan and others will also be seen in action for Islamabad United.

Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmad has urged the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to come and join the stars at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. “It’s a great initiative by Quetta Gladiators team to launch All Stars Muqabla and become the first PSL franchise to build such an asset. We’re playing United in our first ever exhibition match and I’ll urge the people of twin cities to be part of this celebration,” Sarfaraz said.

“I hope that this All Stars Muqable would be a huge success with support of passionate Islamabad and Rawalpindi crowd and this would give a good launch to both teams going into PSL. We’ll the play the second leg of the exhibition match in Quetta after the PSL. I want the public to come out in numbers because we’re coming to provide them entertainment,” he added.

Quetta Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar said: “I’m hopeful that All Stars Muqabla, which is property of Quetta Gladiators, will be a huge success and we would be able to take this to all cities of Pakistan. This year we’re playing two matches against United while I hope that we would play with other PSL franchises as well next year. We would try to give the best possible entertainment to the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi