31st National Games Football Tournament
Lahore, 25 December: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) made impressive debut as new name in 31st National Games football Tournament 2010 when hold National Champions Pakistan WAPDA 0-0 on Sunday at Ground No.2, outside Jinnah Stadium, of Quaid-i-Azam Sports Complex, Islamabad. NWFP was the previous name of KP and they participated with that name when the football events of biennial National Games were held in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007.
Pakistan WAPDA, eighth times National Champion who won the National Games at Minto Park in 1992, dominated the Group-A game but the team from Khyber denied them from scoring many opportunities. KP also won several exchanges in the first 15 minutes of second session but WAPDA’s keeper foiled their attempts with fine saves from their agile keeper Abdul Aziz.
WAPDA fielded first choice players Arif Mehmood, Naveed Akram, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Abdul Aziz, Muhammad Afzal, Muhammasd Asif, Akram Masih, Mehmood Ali, Muhammad Ahmed in the game but they failed to score a single goal against tenacious KP. Meanwhile, in Group-B, five times National Games Gold Medallist Pakistan Army and Pakistan Railways , who never won the National Games, played a tight finish game that failed to produce results as both teams returned from the arena with 1-1 scoreline. 1969, 1984 National Champions Railways had to blame themselves for the defeat as they lost of 1-0 advantage at interval.
Railways were the first to settle down and their relentless efforts earned them opener in the seventh minute when winger and former international youth Zaheer Abbas saw his cross from left was thumped in by agile Railways skipper and spearhead Asif Hameed. It was fine display by Railways who is B-Division club of Pakistan but Army also missed their several key players duo to ongoing PPFL at Karachi. Railways played with command against under strength soldiers and led 1-0 at interval.
Pakistan Army, Gold Medallist of the Games in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007, went all out in quest of leveler and they finally get the reward for their fine efforts with striker Tanveer Ahmed getting the goal in the 83rd minute. Tanveer might have scored another in the 87th minute but Railway’s keeper Aqeel Ahmed dived to his left to make brilliant save.
Sunday (26 Dec) Fixture: Navy v Railways (Ground No. 1, 1 PM), PAF v KP (Ground No.2, 2 PM)