Hissam to lead Pakistan in Polo World Cup Zone-D playoffs


The Pakistan Polo Association has picked the best available for in the World Cup Zone D playoffs to be held in Malaysia from June 12 to 25. Led by Hissam Ali Hyder, the team comprises of class players like Saqib Khan Khakwani, Raja Samiullah and Raja Taimur Nadeem while Ahmed Ali Tiwana and Bilal Haye were named as reserve players. Addressing a press conference here at the Lahore Polo Club, Pakistan Polo Association Secretary Lt Col Aurangzeb Mirza said that the team would leave for Malaysia today (June 9) and reach there the following day. Also present on the occasion was former president of the Lahore Polo Club Abdul Qadir Mamdot who will accompany the team as manager.
Aurangzeb pointed out that Pakistan team was good enough and had the ability to upstage the favourites. “In their previous participation in New Zealand, Pakistan team failed to qualify while in 2003 playoffs at Lahore, they made a stunning display and went through to play in France,” he said.
The selection of the team, he informed, was made after the selectors observed the players throughout the year at different venues of the country and better handicapped players were preferred because the event is of 14 goals.
“Initially 10 players were selected and were shortlisted to six, who then underwent camp training at Rawalpindi.
Mamdot informed that Pakistan has been placed in a pool against Nigeria and South Africa. The other participating teams are Australia, India, New Zealand and Malaysia. Pakistan will pay their opening match against Nigeria on June 15 and against South Africa on June 18. The two top teams of the group will play in the semi-final and then the final will be played on June 22. He further informed that the top three teams will qualify for the World Cup.
Aurangzeb further informed that initially they planned to hire Argentinean coach and had a one month training session but financial constraints forced them to shelve the plan.
“We are thankful to the prime minister, who is also patron of the game, PIA and some of the polo fans in the UK for making the teams participation possible with their support,” he said.