LAHORE - Member National Assembly (MNA) Hamza Shahbaz Sharif Monday termed the visit of Qatar cricket team a good omen for the future of the country’s cricket and other sports.

Speaking at the press briefing here at the National Hockey Stadium, Hamza, who is also Sports Board Punjab (SBP) steering committee chairman, said: “The press conference was arranged after the postponement of the Punjab Youth Festival Twenty20 cricket match between Pakistan A and Qatar cricket teams due to persistent rain.” Punjab Minister for Sports and Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, MPA Tahia Noon, Director General SBP Usman Anwar, PCB Director Domestic Cricket Shafiq Ahmed Papa, Pakistan A and Qatar cricket teams and their officials were also present on the occasion.

Hamza said that Pakistan would be a hub of international sports activities in near future. “Recently, male and female sports teams from Indian Punjab visited Pakistan and we are quite hopeful of hosting sports contingents from over 40 countries in the upcoming phase of the Punjab International Youth Festival,” he elaborated.

Talking about the Balochistan Sports Festival, he said that the province of Balochistan was known for kidnapping and murders but now they were hosting their sports festival which was quite heartening. “They are our brothers and we will extend every possible help to them in their need of hour,” he promised.

Qatar cricket team coach Anton Trishane Nonis of expressed his complete satisfaction about the security and arrangements in Pakistan. “There is nothing wrong with the security of Pakistan which is a safe country and has international standard sports facilities,” he added and urged the top cricket nations and other sports teams to visit Pakistan.

PCB Director Domestic Cricket Shafiq Ahmed said that all the top level arrangements for T20 match were in place but the rain stalled all the programme. “It’s an honour for us to stage an international match under the banner of the Punjab Youth Festival. Hopefully, we will be able to organise an exciting Twennty20 match on Wednesday for our cricket fans,” he added.

Now the match will be played between the two sides tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1:00pm. The entry for the spectators will be totally free. The management has allocated separate gates for the entrance of cricket lovers. The female students will enter the stadium through gate No 3 and 5 while gate No 8 will be for male spectators.

Later, Hamza Shahbaz, flanked by Punjab Minister for Sports and Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan and Director General SBP Usman Anwar, also inaugurated the Sports Board Punjab’s first ever web radio ‘Shine’.