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Six departmental and four provincial teams are likely to participate in the 5-a-side tournament that Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) intends to organise in August-September period.

It will be the first domestic hockey activity in the country since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year.

PHF has already sent a communique to the federal and the provincial governments, seeking permissions for hockey activities and COVID-19-related protocols.

It is pertinent to mention here that IPC Minister Dr Fahmeeda Mirza has directed the authorities concerned in all four provinces to send their proposals for opening sports complexes and gymnasium for professional and amateur athletes, while keeping in view the coronavirus hazard.

The PHF plans to hold this 5-a-side tournament in Karachi, Lahore or Gojra.

Karachi seems to be the ideal place for the event where everything necessary for successful holding of any sporting event are easily available.

The PHF wants to organise most matches under floodlights in order to attract spectators, sources said.

PHF is keenly waiting for the response of its communique sent to the authorities, they added.

A source said that if the tournament was to be organised in Karachi, it would not be held at Abdul Sattar Edhi hockey stadium as its condition is not good enough. PHF will finalise where it is to hold the event when it gets response from the authorities, the source said.

All professional hockey players of the country have been given green signal to start their training to participate in the 5-a side tournament. Around 40 probable players of Pakistan senior and junior teams have been following PHF’s home-based training programme since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

The head coach of senior hockey team Khwaja Junaid has said that the players are keenly waiting for the 5-a-side tournament. He says the players are physically fit and just need a short camp before the tournament.

It has been learnt that a number of Pakistan senior and junior teams probable players will represent their departments in the tournament, while the emerging talented players will be part of the provincial teams.

Syed Intikhab Ali _ The News