Sports, Hockey

Club Cup hockey begins tomorrow

Published : 20 Feb 2024 08:58 PM

After two- and-a- half years, domestic hockey finally resumes. A total of six clubs out of 12 will take part in the Club Cup Hockey Tournament scheduled to begin on Thursday.  

On the opening day, Abahani will take on Ajax Sporting Club in a Group B match at 1:00 pm while league Champions Dhaka Mariner Young’s Club confront Bangladesh Police at 3:00 pm in Group A at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.

Mohammedan Sporting Club and Usha Krira Chakra are the two other teams participating in the 10-day tournament. 

Meanwhile, financial shortage of clubs have taken some sheen out of the return of domestic hockey.  Six clubs have pulled out of the curtain-raiser competition Club Cup Hockey Tournament owing to a budgetary issue.

Bangladesh Sporting Club, Azad SC, Sadharan Bima, Dilkusha SC, Victoria SC and Sonali Bank are skipping the tournament citing the lack of preparation and budget constraint as main reasons.

General Secretary of Bangladesh Sporting Club Mustaque Hossain Mona said, "We are struggling to find accommodation and on top of that, financial constraints. We are skipping the tournament to save money so that we can play in the Dhaka Premier Division Hockey League,"

General Secretary of Azad Sporting Club Abul Mannan said, "Azad SC just finished the first division cricket league a couple of days before and we are now taking preparation to accommodate hockey players in place of cricketers. Besides, we also have various problems including financial ones, so we are skipping the tournament. But we will play the league."

Coach of defending champions Abahani, Hedayetul Islam Razib was disappointed to see the low number of clubs taking part in the tournament.

"During our playing days, most clubs took part in the Club Cup tournament. The number of participants is much lower than previous ones. And, no doubt, it will reduce the attraction of the tournament," the Abahani coach said. 

Mohammedan Coach Shahidullah Titu said, "It would be better for hockey overall if more teams took part in the tournament. Then we would also get more matches to judge the players before the start of the league." Bangladesh Hockey Federation's (BHF) secretary Khawaja Taher Latif Munna, however, claimed the number of participants was not unusual. "The clubs are not obligated to play the Club Cup Tournament, as it is an invitational competition. Usually, top clubs take part so participation of six or seven teams is usual," said Munna.

Last edition of the Club Cup Tournament was held in 2021, where eight clubs took part.