KARACHI: NBP stunned PIA 2-0 in the final of the first Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Challenge Hockey Cup to lift the trophy at the Army Hockey Stadium in Rawalpindi yesterday.
NBP were quickly out of the blocks and brilliantly converted a penalty corner in the 12th minute as Muhammad Tousiq Arshad struck home.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the bankers stuck to their attack-minded approach, and it paid off in the seventh minute of the second quarter as Shan Ali scored in the 22nd minute to double their lead before half time.
PIA came back in the final two quarters but were unable to find a way through a resolute NBP defence.
After the match, NBP captain Arshad praised the team for following the coaches’ strategy. “We played according to the guidelines of our coaches,” he said. “The younger players also responded well to the strategy, which helped us build a strong defense and a potent attack.”
Talking about the significant prize money of Rs2.2 million — the highest in the history of domestic hockey in Pakistan — Arshad said that the tournament was one of the best he had seen and provided a good opportunity to the players to showcase their skills.
Meanwhile, COAS General Raheel Shareef distributed the prize money of Rs1 million to winning side NBP, Rs700,000 to runners-up PIA, and Rs500,000 to third-placed Army, along with gold, silver and bronze medals respectively to the players. “Army will do it’s best to promote the national game, starting with the addition of this tournament in the annual Pakistan Hockey Federation calendar,” promised Shareef at the ceremony.
Olympian Muhammad Rizwan Senior was declared the player of the tournament, Imran Butt of PIA was named the best goal-keeper and Muhammad Imran of Army was the top scorer with nine goals.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2015.
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