Karachi, April 16: Khyber Muslim overcame Gizri Star by 1-0 score in the summit clash to clinch the title of Leisure Leagues Karachi Youth Initiative Football Championship here at KMC Stadium Football Stadium.
Mohammad Farooq scored the lone goal of the final match to propel his team Khyber Muslim to victory stand. The team emerged champion out of the total 100 teams that participated in the mega tournament.
Top two teams of each of the five districts qualified for the final round after emerging champions from their respective district leagues. Each district hosted two leagues of ten teams each during qualifying round.
Two groups of four teams each were formed while the remaining two teams directly qualified for semifinals on the basis of draw. After playing knockout matches, one team from each group, after playing two matches, qualified for semifinals, where they clashed with lucky teams that earned direct qualification through draws.
In semifinals, Khyber Muslim overcame Al-Ghazi FC by 4-3 score on penalty shoots after a goalless draw. Meanwhile, Gizri Star overcame Umer Star by 1-0 score, where Mohammad Usman scored the lone goal.
During the closing former Pakistan Coach and ex-captain Tariq Lutfi and another former Pakistan skipper Essa Khan were chief guests.
Lutfi praised Leisure Leagues for organizing this huge tournament where 1,000 athletes got the chance to feature and showcase their talent. He said that such events help youngsters keep away from unhealthy activities by indulging in sports.
Meanwhile, Essa Khan also lauded Leisure Leagues for organizing football events and hoped that it would flourish and polish local football talent.
Earlier, a total of 1,000 players representing 100 teams – twenty teams from each of the five districts namely District South, Central, East, Malir and West participated in the qualifying rounds of the championship.
Furthermore, two leagues, comprising of ten teams each, were organized for each district. Champions of those ten leagues qualified for this final round. Each team played a total of 14 matches during the qualifying rounds. Each team comprised of ten players including three substitute players.
Top two teams of each Districts qualified for the final round namely Hazara United and Baloch Star from Central, Gizri Star and Al-Ghazi from East, Haji Samad FC and Pak Zamindar from South, Baloch Youth Garden and Khaber Muslim from West and Omer Star and Shazad Mohammadan from Malir Districts.
The Leisure Leagues KYI Football Championship began with one hundred matches played at five different venues – namely Gabol Park (South District), 16-Star Football Ground (District Central), Ansar Union Football Stadium (District East), Mohammadi Stadium (District Malir) and Khyber-Muslim Football Stadium (District West) on Saturday and Sunday.
Twenty teams were equally divided into two groups – Group A and Group B and played two matches against one another – on home and away basis against other teams in their respective groups. According to Leisure Leagues rule book, a league cannot have more than ten teams. Therefore, the twenty teams playing at one venue had been divided into two groups of ten teams each.
Leisure Leagues has organized this league for the underprivileged youngsters of the city in order to keep them involved in healthy activities and subsequently away from unsocial activities. Leisure Leagues also believe that such activities can in near future produce football stars for the country.
Each player, who participated in the tournament was given free kit and football shoes. Conveyance allowance was also been given to each team.
“In line with our long standing commitment to giving back to the people of Pakistan, we continue to provide opportunities for the underprivileged youth of Karachi through sports. This initiative will help keep them away from negative activities. And channel their energy in the right direction,” Chairman World Group Mehmood Trunkwala said. Leisure Leagues has been brought to Pakistan by Trunkwala family.
The winners Khyber Muslim of the Leisure Leagues KYI Football Championship has qualified for forthcoming Leisure Leagues Intra-City Championship.
Leisure Leagues is holding its events across the country including Lahore, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Mardan, Quetta and Rawalpindi. Jacobabad and Gilgit are next in line. Leisure Leagues is looking forward to enhance their presence in more cities in near future.