by Ali Salman Wadhani
KARACHI: K-Electric launched the fifth edition of the U-16 Lyari Football League in a colourful ceremony at the Peoples Sports Complex on Thursday.
The tournament will feature 16 teams — all named after Lyari’s football legends — and will conclude on May 7. The teams have been divided into four groups with the top teams after the round-robin stage advancing to the semi-finals.
The tournament is aimed at providing the under-privileged youth of the area with a sporting future and the six best players getting picked by K-Electric who are currently the champions of the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL).
The tournament will be held in association with Pakistan Rangers and the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).
The opening ceremony saw young players emerge from the dressing room, lining up at the centre of the pitch. “I hope this tournament provides me a chance to play for K-Electric one day,” a player from Chaudhry Ghulam Mohammad XI said.
Following the march past, the sparse crowd at the venue was treated to a performance by Balochi folk dancers — symbolic with Lyari’s huge Baloch population.
Chief guest Brig Mohammad Abuzar, the chief of ANF Sindh, then opened the tournament by kicking the ball. “I hope this tournament will help the youth of Lyari focus on sport and keeps them away from drugs,” he said.
And then, the floodlights flickered on with the opening match of the tournament between Jan M. Januk XI and M.M. Mehdi XI kicking off.
From Friday, four matches will take place every day till the semi-finals on May 5.
Group 1: Jan M.Januk XI, M.M. Mehdi XI, Haji Ahmed Khan XI, A. Majeed Abdul XI
Group 2: Haji Qasim Kandi XI, Abdul Sattar Kohati XI, M.Umar Umri XI, Cap.Umar Hangroo
Group 3: Sir Siddiq Singhar XI, Waja Abdul Ghani XI, Yaseen Qureshi XI, Peer Baksh Baloch XI
Group 4: Ch.Ghulam Muhd XI, Mushtaq Rajpot XI, M.H.Multani XI, Imam Baksh Sajidi XI.