UTSC all set to host 2018 Gulf Hockey Fiesta
February 19, 2018 | 7:49 PM
by Sports Reporter
Oman Hockey Association chief Talib Al Wahaibi, fourth from left, pictured during the launch ceremony of 2018 Gulf Hockey Fiesta on Monday. Photo - Supplied

Muscat: Encouraged by the success of previous editions and with the Oman Hockey Association providing the right support, the United Thalassery Sports Club are all set organise the third Gulf Hockey Fiesta later this week.

The 2018 edition of the Gulf region’s popular hockey event was officially launched at Haffa House Hotel on Monday in the presence of Oman Hockey Association (OHA) chief Talib Al Wahaibi, United Thalassery Sports Club (UTSC) representatives Sharzina Raffi and Hashir Ponmanichi, Mohsin of Malabar Gold, Philip Koshy of Modern Exchange and Tournament Technical Director Salih Thacher.

This year’s Gulf Hockey Fiesta is scheduled to be organised at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on February 23 and 24.

Speaking on the occasion, OHA chief Talib Al Wahaibi lauded the efforts of organisations like UTSC in promoting hockey.

“I would like to thank UTSC for standing by the OHA in promoting hockey and rising the profile of the game in the Sultanate. It is OHA’s endeavour to stabilise the position of Oman hockey and these kind of events and support help us in achieving our goals,” he said.

“In 1970s and 80s we used play in weekend tournaments, which more like family affairs. Now you are able to invite the teams from across all Gulf nations which is a welcome change. And I think the event is rightly called the Gulf Hockey Fiesta.”

The OHA chief also lauded the contribution of individuals like SAS Naqvi, former Oman national team coach and OHA technical advisor, to the Sultanate’s hockey.

“I am glad we have Naqvi in our midst here today. He has been a big part of Oman’s hockey history.”

13 teams

Giving the details of the event, Tournament Director Javis Ahamed said: “We are glad to announce that the third edition of our Gulf Hockey Fiesta has attracted 13 teams.”

Besides defending champions Team Coorg Muscat and hosts UTSC, the other teams who will be participating in the event are Saudi Strikers, Young Stars Bahrain, Nizwa Sports Club, Al Salam Sports Club, Muscat Orangeers, Pak Falcons, Oman Veterans, OHA Red, OHA White, Qatar Wanderers and Hungry Hamours Bahrain.

“The teams will be divided into three groups. After the league stage, the top two teams from each group and two best second-placed teams will advance to the quarterfinals,” Javis added.

As a part of their efforts to promote hockey at grassroots level, the organisers will also be hosting exhibition matches for Indian schools boys and girls during the event.

The event will kick off at 2.00 p.m. on February 23 but it will be officially inaugurated at 7.00 p.m. by OHA chief Talib Al Wahaibi.

While all league matches will be played on February 23, the knockout matches and the final are scheduled to be played on February 24.

The event will be sponsored by Shahi Spices, Malabar Jewellery, Mohammed Riyaz & Partners, Al Rehwan, MuscatPharmacy, Oman Oasis, Al Sarooj Constructions, Foodlands Restaurant, Akbar Travels, Modern Exchange, Lulu Hypermarket, Shipco, Bader Shipping, Bader Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, Air India, FAP, Al Nahla and Lynx.

On the sidelines of the Fiesta, the organisers will also host ‘The Great 2018 Foodlands Cook-off Contest, quiz programme and a host of cultural activities besides a raffle draw.

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