LAHORE: On Monday, in an exhibition Quaid-e-Azam Day hockey game played on the recently installed artificial turf of National Hockey Stadium, Olympians XI defeated Pakistan Greens XI by a razor-thin margin of 4-3.
The honorees for the high-profile match included Wahab Riaz, the chief minister of Punjab’s adviser on youth and sports, Azfar Ali Nasir, the caretaker provincial minister for housing, and Mansoor Qadir, the caretaker provincial minister for education. On this occasion, officials including DD Ataur Rahman, DD Chand Perveen, AD M Waseem, coach Zareena Waqar, Director General of Sports Punjab Dr. Asif Tufail, Director of Sports Yasmeen Akhtar, Director of Youth Affairs Rana Nadeem Anjum, and other officials were present.
The high-profile match also witnessed the presence of several legendary Olympians such as former captain Akhtar Rasool, Secretary PHF Rana Mujahid, former secretaries PHF Shahbaz Sr and Asif Bajwa, M Saqlain, M Usman, Kh Junaid, M Shafqat and Anjum Saeed.
Before the game, Wahab Riaz gave souvenirs to Auqaf Azfar Ali Nasir, the caretaker provincial minister for housing, and Mansoor Qadir, the caretaker provincial minister for education. He celebrated the Quaid-i-Azam’s birth anniversary by cutting a cake with the other ministers and Dr. Asif Tufail, the DG of SBP.
Under the direction of Dr. Asif Tufail, DG SBP, Punjab Sports Department organised the game and gave out prizes to the players as well as mementoes to the legendary hockey players and officials. Dr. Asif Tufail was also given a memento by Secretary PHF Rana Mujahid.
Talking to media, Wahab Riaz said the presence of such a large number of hockey greats at the match definitely proved to be a big inspiration for young hockey players. He paid great tributes to Quaid-i-Azam for his influential role in the creation of Pakistan. He also greeted Christian community on the occasion of Christmas, lauding their contribution in the development of country.
In response to a query, Wahab Riaz stated that in an effort to bring back Pakistan’s national sport, the Sports and Youth Affairs Department will also host a hockey league. He continued, “Sports Board Punjab and PHF are working together to plan an international hockey event at National Hockey Stadium.”
Asif Bajwa served as coach, Akhtar Rasool served as manager, and Shahbaz Sr. led the Olympians XI. Habib ur Rehman was the manager of the Pakistan Greens XI, which was captained by Mujahid Afzal. Rana Nadeem Anjum, the director of youth affairs, was a member of the Pakistan Greens playing team.
The Olympians scored four stunning goals through Shafqat Malik, Shahbaz Sr., Shahid Gill, and M. Usman, displaying glimmers of their glorious history. The Pakistan Greens XI played fantastic hockey as well, but they were defeated by a narrow margin. Two goals were scored by Rana Waleed, and the losing team’s M Ammad scored the third.