KARACHI: Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) will make its debut when the 65th retired Air Marshal Nur Khan National Hockey Championship pushes off here at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

MPCL is among the 20 teams that will vie for honours in the country’s premier hockey championship which concludes on Aug 4.

This year’s event has been named after former PHF president and one of the greatest sports administrators of the country, Nur Khan.

The competing teams have been equally divided into four groups and top two will propel into the quarterfinals which will be played on Aug 1.

According to draws, Aug 2 is the rest day in the event and the semifinals will take place on Aug 3. The playoff for third place and final is slated for Aug 4.

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) will defend its title in the event. They carved out a 2-1 victory over Wapda in the final of the last edition held at Sukkur. Wapda has been allowed to field two teams in the event.

Meanwhile, the stadium presents a festive look following refurbishment that has been carried out at swift pace under the supervision of Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) secretary Haider Hussain who was entrusted upon with the task by the PHF secretary Asif Bajwa.

According to tournament director former Olympian Hanif Khan, all competing teams have arrived in the city.

He said separate meetings of team managers, judges and umpires were also held at the stadium on Monday.

Five matches will be played daily starting at 9:00am followed by 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 5:00pm.

Pools:

A: National Bank of Pakistan, Army, Police, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit.

B: Wapda, Punjab, Railways, MPCL, Fata.

C: SSGC, PIA, PAF, Sindh, Islamabad.

D: Navy, SNGPL, Wapda (Whites), PQA, Balochistan.

Tuesday’s fixtures:

At 9am: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Gilgit.

At 11am: PQA vs Balochistan.

At 1pm: Punjab vs Fata.

At 3pm: Sindh vs Islamabad.

At 5pm: NBP vs Police.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2019