by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: With another edition of Pakistan Petroleum Limited Balochistan Cup just around the corner, the local clubs and football fraternity are once again relishing at the prospect of playing football.
The tournament will be featuring 36 district and city teams that will further compete on a knockout basis in six divisional head-quarters including Quetta, Kalat, Makran, Sibi, Zhob and Naseerabad from March 10-18.
“It is a great event for us,” Rais Bashir Ahmad Hanif, founder of Jalawan FC, told The Express Tribune from Khuzdar. “The tournament works for us because most of the local players appear in the trials for the district teams and they get some allowance for each match and mostly we get to see new talent too. It is just that we need regular tournaments to keep our players motivated. Everyone plays football here, and now we’ll be looking to get the best players in our district teams to come forward.”
The final of last edition’s Balochistan Cup was played in Quetta and the divisional sides had travelled for the last-eight event to a centralised venue, while rest of the matches took place at the local venues in each of the six divisions.
Hanif said that the trials in his division will begin in the second week of January.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan junior player Muhammad Fazal said that he will be representing Khuzdar’s city team in the tournament and feels that holding the event in March rather than July is a good decision.
“This tournament brings many players in Balochistan together. I play for Karachi United FC in local events, but I will be playing for my city team. Most of the local players in Balochistan are stuck in amateur set-ups and train on their own, so I feel with a little experience I can help my city team,” said Fazal.