KARACHI: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) edged WAPDA 2-1 to win the 64th National Championships at Sukkur’s Peoples Hockey Stadium.
Both NBP and WAPDA had been the winners of the national title four times. On paper as well, they were well matched sides with a number of internationals. In the 2016 edition, NBP had finished second and WAPDA fourth.NBP had last lifted the coveted trophy in 2013 and WAPDA in 2010.
The final lived up to the expectations. A jam-packed Peoples stadium witnessed an exciting duel with fortunes fluctuating.NBP’s international drag flicker Abu-Bakr put his team ahead with a penalty corner conversion in the 13th minute. The lead didn’t last long as WAPDA’s Qasim equalised within six minutes through a penalty corner.
It was a deadlock at 1-1 when the hooter for the half time rang.With just two minutes into the second half, NBP restored the lead, again through a penalty corner and again Abu-Bakr was the scorer.
The fierce battle continued, but the bankers were able to keep the slim lead intact. Earlier, in the third position match, SSGC thrashed Navy 3-0. Rana Sohail displayed great attacking skills, scoring two goals. Zeeshan Bukhari was the other scorer. Interestingly, SSGC had finished third last year as well.
Khursheed Shah, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, distributed the prizes among the players. He lauded PHF for holding the national championship in Sukkur.He expressed the hope that the PHF would organise more national-level competitions in Sindh so that the newly-laid turfs in various parts of the province could be utilised optimally.