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Nishan-i-Haider 9ners hockey set to begin in Karachi

KARACHI: After hosting the World XI for a three-match Twenty20 series at Lahore and the Thailand tennis squad for the Davis Cup rubber in Islamabad recently, hockey is set to follow suit when the international Nishan-i-Haider 9ners hockey tournament begins at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.

Eleven foreign goalkeepers — seven from Australia and four from Argentina — arrive here in two batches on Tuesday to feature in the first ever 9ners international competition in the country.

The goalkeepers who will make their presence felt include Fleming Mattew, Shulson Josling, Holman Nicholas Janes, David Arthur Reid, Zachary Edward Walker, Bevkeley John Bruton, Kirk Joshua Blair (Australia), Emiliano Bosso, Gonzato Martin, Joaquen Moverio, Juan Ignacio Diaz (Argentina).

Eleven teams will vie for honours in the eight-day event which concludes on Oct 11. The teams have been named after the martyrs of 1965 Indo-Pak war who were bestowed with prestigious gallantry award of Nishan-i-Haider.

Each team will comprise 14 players including one foreign goalkeeper apiece.

The PHF has already asked 131 players to report at the venue on Tuesday. The list does not include the names of the Dhaka-bound Asia Cup players. The national team will fly to Dhaka on Oct 8.

“They are emerging players and form the nucleus of Pakistan hockey,” tournament director and former Olympian Qamar Ibrahim told Dawn.

Asked about the format, he said a match envisaged two halves of 20-minutes each with a five-minute break.

He added that five penalty shootouts apiece will be held before the start of the match.

Organising secretary, former Olympian Kamran Ashraf disclosed that the PHF has designed its own rules as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has no approved rules for 9ners.

Pools:

A: Capt. Mohammad Sarwar 9ners, Maj. Tufail 9ners, Maj. Aziz Bhatti 9ners.

B: Maj. Shabbir Sharif 9ners, Rashid Minhas 9ners, M. Hussain 9ners.

C: Maj M. Akram 9ners, L/N M. Mahfooz 9ners, Capt Sher Khan 9ners.

D: Hav Lalak Jan 9ners, Naik Saif Ali Janjua 9ners.

Schedule:

Oct 4: Maj M. Akram 9ners v L/N M. Mehfooz 9ners at 8.30pm

Oct 5: Aziz Bhatti 9ners v M. Sarwar 9ners at 7pm; Shabbir Sharif 9ners v Rashid Minhas 9ners at 8.15pm; Hav Lalak Jan 9ners v Naik Saif Ali Janjua 9ners at 9.30pm.

Oct 6: Maj M. Akram 9ners v Capt Sher Khan 9ners at 7pm; Tufail 9ners v M. Sarwar 9ners at 8.15pm; M. Hussain 9ners v Rashid Minhas 9ners at 9.30pm.

Oct 7: Capt Sher Khan 9ners v L/N M. Mehfooz 9ners at 7pm; M. Hussain 9ners v Shabbir Sharif 9ners at 8.15pm; Aziz Bhatti 9ners v Tufail 9ners at 9.30pm.

Oct 8: First quarter-final winner of pool A v runners-up of pool C at 4.15pm; second quarterfinal winner of pool B v runners-up of pool D at 5.30pm, third quarter-final winner of pool C v runners-up of pool A at 7.15pm, fourth quarter-final winner of pool D v runner-up of pool B at 8.30pm.

Oct 9: Rest Day

Oct 10: Semi-finals winner of first quarter-final v winner of third quarter-final at 7.30pm, winner of second quarter-final v winner of second quarter-final v winner of fourth quarter-final at 9pm.

Oct 11: Final.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017