ISLAMABAD - Punjab Blues humbled Islamabad 7-0 in the 1st National U-18 Hockey Championship fourth match played here at Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.

Punjab dominated the first quarter and put Islamabad under enormous pressure. They were given huge boost as scrutiny committee allowed Wasim Akram to play. Wasim was the main difference between both the teams, as he not only scored a hat-trick, but also remained instrumental in helping Punjab score other goals as well. Adeel scored the first goal for Punjab in the 10th minute on Wasim’s pass. Despite enjoying lime share of possession and playing entire quarter in Islamabad half, Punjab failed to add further goals to finish the first quarter having 1-0 lead.

Wasim continued his superb form in the second quarter too as he slammed his first and team’s second goal in the 18th minute, then he provided a wonderful pass to Abid Bhatti in the 22nd minute, which Abid duly converted to make it 3-0. Wasim then hammered a superb goal in the 26th minute and then completed his well-deserving hat-trick in the 28th minute to make it 5-0.

Islamabad regrouped and made some delightful moves and in the third quarter. They were awarded four plenty corners, but they failed to take advantage as the quarter remained goalless. Punjab started the fourth and last quarter in style as they added two further goals in their total tally – one through Ilyas in the 47th minute and other through Arshad Liaqat in 7th minute – to finish the match having impressive 7-0 lead.

KP Whites, after successfully managed to blackmail tournament organising committee, brushed aside Sindh Colours 5-1 in the earlier match played at the same venue. KP Whites skipper Hamza was star of the day, as he scored a hat-trick. Amir Farooq opened the scoring for KP in the 7th minute while Hamza hammered two goals for his team in the 17th and 19th minutes to make it 3-0. Ehtesham enhanced KP’s lead to 4-0 and Hamza completed his hat-trick in the 50th minute to make it 5-0. Hammad Rizwan scored the consolation goal for Sindh to finish the match at 5-1.

Meanwhile, all the tall claims made by the tournament director Col (R) Ahmed Nawaz Malik, regarding upholding rule of law and not to bow down under pressure regarding age scrutiny, were blown up in air. Not only KP’s but Punjab players were also allowed to participate in the tournament. When this scribe contact the tournament director in this regard, Col Ahmed (R) replied: “Firstly, according to documents, we allow another 10 players to participate from their respective teams. Secondly, the young chaps came to me with tear in their eyes, I was not able to say no to them and allowed only those players, who had complete documentary evidences, while 14 players were not allowed to take part in the event.”

The source confirmed to this scribe that Col (R) Ahmed was packing his luggage and was not ready to compromise on principle stance, but Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) intervened and requested him not to sabotage the event and let the players, who had documentary evidence, play and don’t insist on medical tests.”

“If the PHF can’t take principle stance on age issues and other minor issues, how can they provide justice and rights to the deserving players. A number of participating teams raised questions over the criteria and showed huge doubts about the injustices being witnessed in the championship,” the sources added.

Another huge set back to organisers claims were witnessed during the KP Whites and Sindh Colours match, when KP manager Zia-ur-Rehman Buneri, after getting upset at the umpire’s decision, went to the ground jury and started abusing it for not accepting his demand and warned them of dire consequences. He is the same gentleman, who, a day earlier, threatened to boycott the event.

When this scribe contacted the tournament director to seek his point of view in this regard, Ahmed said: “Yes, we were not only sitting in the ground but the spectators also heard the language used by Zia. I had taken notice on the written complaint lodged by the jury and the opponent team. We have barred Zia from entering the premises of the stadium and recommended that tough action should be taken against the guilty person. I am confident the PHF would take serious notice and the person should be properly dealt with.”