ISLAMABAD - Punjab Blues and Punjab Colours started their First National U-18 Hockey Championship 2016 campaign on winning note as both Punjab teams registered highly convincing victories on the inaugural day of the event which start here at Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Pakistan Hockey Federation President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior, director tournament Col Ahmed Nawaz, DG PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah, Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain along with others were also present in the evening match.

In the first match played between Punjab Blues and Balochistan Colours, Punjab thanks to a brace from Zeeshan Khan and Asfandyar hammered sorry Balochistan 9-0, while Meraj Ali, Lal Muhammad, Suleman Khan, Younus and Ghulam Hussain also score a goal each for the winners.

In the second and last match of the day, Punjab Colours hammered KP Green 10-0. Muhammad Hammad was the star of the show, as he scored 4 goals including hat trick, while Ali Aziz and Anwaar ul Haq scored a brace each.

A total of 13 teams are taking part in the event, which is described as benchmark for the upcoming Asia U-18 Cup to be held Muscat in December this year. Three teams Fata, Gilgit/Baltistan and AJK failed to turn up for the event while on the very first day five players were declared overage by the PSB Dr Shabeena Aftab while further 23 players were put under scrutiny till availability of senior Dr Waqar, who was not available as it was Sunday.

The players had also lodged complaints regarding poor accommodation at Jinnah Hostel. Col Ahmed had made tall claims regarding he had personally visited places where the PSB had provided accommodation, meal and promised to take very good care of the players. But there was complete chaos witnessed on the inaugural day as despite appointing an army of officials and hand them different responsibilities, there was no one who could guide journalists, provide them with score sheets, name of the teams and players, who was the goal scorer. The journalists were given a place just on the sidelines of the venue where even chairs were not available, which the organisers also did not bother to provide to fans. Despite several attempts being made by the journalists to reach Col Ahmed, all the efforts failed to bring desired results as Col Ahmed was busy with IPC Minister and other PHF officials. Col Ahmed wanted journalists all out support and requested them to come in numbers and give proper coverage to the event, but he completely ignored, journalists should be provided with at least chairs and someone should have been deputed to update them about results.

Sharing his views Mian Riaz announced free accommodation and meal for the players, which was need of the hour, as under tight financial conditions and with almost no sponsors, organisers were under enormous pressure. As soon as the Minister announced the facilities organisers and players took huge sigh of relief and entire stadium was erupted with thunderous applause and slogans were raised in Mian Riaz’s favour.

Mian Riaz promised all out help not only from Pakistan Sports Board but also from IPC Ministry. He highly appreciated media role and termed their healthy criticism is behind the playing fields started to host different sporting activities. He requested media to play their role in urging masses to come in numbers and it is the only way to defeat terrorism and present soft sports loving image of the country to international community.

He termed first edition of the PSL a complete flop as national cricket team neither find a batsman nor a quality bowler. When asked about UAE was dubbed as second home of Pakistan and now they are demanding hefty money to allow their facilities to Pakistan national team, had Minister or anyone else contacted UAE authorities in this regard, Minster replied: “I want and wish Pakistan cricket team play all its international matches at home soil. Army and security forces are working day and night to improve the overall security situation of the country. But we can’t always use guns and bullets to calm down things. The masses must come in numbers to witness the matches as masses and players can play major part in defeating anti-social elements.” He blamed religious parties for negativity, which prevented international teams to visit Pakistan.