Poor facilities mar National Challenge Cup

KARACHI: The organising committee of the National Football Challenge Cup has completely failed to conduct the event in a befitting manner.

Not only does the venue lack in basic facilities for players, but the floodlight system of the Dring Stadium is also very weak. It has severely damaged the cause of the event which is the second major tournament in the country after the Premier League.

So far no game under floodlights has ended in the stipulated period because of the intermittent suspension of electricity.

On Saturday night the games between Habib Bank and Ashraf Sugar Mills and that between holders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and Pak Afghan Clearing Agency (PACA) were disrupted several times.

Because of such an embarrassing situation KRL were upset by young PACA 2-1.

HBL played extremely well but the repeated suspension of light damaged their cause as they were held by their rivals to a 1-1 draw.

In order to prevent wastage of time the organisers decided to use a generator, but it did not work.

Even when the lights were on, their quality was very poor, sources said. The less developed outfits are gaining advantage of the situation.

Sources said that in the KRL-PACA encounter the referee went to the sideline and found that the light was not enough, but he was told by an official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to carry on the game. The man who advised the referee was ironically a former FIFA referee, sources said.

Sources also revealed when Habib Bank reached Bahawalpur around 10:00pm they were told that their first match against PACA had been rescheduled and they would have to play it at 7:00am instead of 4:45pm. The revelation shocked Habib Bank management and they had to awaken their players at 5:00am.

The competitions were started at two venues but after a day the Ground No2 was dropped due to lack of facilities.

Organizing secretary Irshad Qureshi, however, promised that no such disruption of light would be seen in the knock-out stage as the second generator had also been attained for the purpose.

About the basic facilities at the venue like washrooms, Irshad said that all the teams were living in their hotels and there was no such need but he was quick to add that there were two toilets along the wall of the stadium and the players and officials were using them.

Irshad said that the matches had been shifted because of the presence of honey bees at the other venue.

from: The News