KARACHI: The city’s top footballers will be seen in action in the Naya Nazimabad Ramazan Night Football Tournament 2021 from April 18 to May 3 here at the lush green pitch of the Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana.
As many as 12 teams are set to dazzle the stage in the floodlit event which features Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Karachi United.
The teams have been divided into four groups of three outfits each. The Group A comprises Karachi United, Ghareeb Shah Union and Hazara Muhammadan. The Group B consists of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Bacha Khan Memorial and Mehfooz XI.
The Group C carries CAA, Moosa Lashari FC and Eagles FC. Khyber Muslim, Abdul FC and National Soccer FC have been bracketed in the Group D.
After a single league engagement, one team from each group will progress to the semi-finals to be held on April 30 and May 1, . The final will be conducted on May 3.
On the opening day, National Soccer FC will lock horns with Abdul FC at 11pm.
Revealing the details in a news conference, Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana President Mohammad Talha said that they took the step to engage the players in this tough football scenario. “There is football craze here and we specifically opted to prepare a pitch and will turn it into an international standard one,” he said. “This is the first event and we want to hold it every year,” Talha said.
He said that next year futsal, hockey, squash and tennis events would be added. He said that they also planned to organise mini Olympics-type spectacle on all-Pakistan level as a regular feature in future as they had the facilities of around 20 disciplines.
Talha said that effort would also be made to ensure Covid protocols were followed by each and every participant.
He said although the prize money for the opening event was not that high but they would gradually enhance it in future.
The winners will be handed over Rs100,000 with the runners-up to go away with Rs75,000. The fair-play trophy winners will get Rs20,000, while Rs10,000 each will be handed over to the leading players of the event.
Organising secretary Nasir Ismail said that the armed forces and KRL were also interested in the event but they could not manage it due to last-hour restrictions placed on their movement. “KPT had been invited but they could not manage as they are in the revamping mode. Natioanl Bank decided against featuring in the event because of injuries to a handful of their players,” said Nasir, also a former Pakistan assistant coach.