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At last, big title for City hockey team

JUST WHEN it looks that the beautiful game of hockey is dead in Bhopal, there happens an event that belies the presumption. And such events take place without any apparent reason.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 15:10 IST

JUST WHEN it looks that the beautiful game of hockey is dead in Bhopal, there happens an event that belies the presumption. And such events take place without any apparent reason.

One such event occurred today when the City’s team, after a long time, made its presence felt at the national level by winning the West Zone Hockey Tournament defeating the hosts Mumbai 3-2 in the final played in Mumbai.

The outstanding performance of Bhopal in the tournament continued in the final too. It was a challenge for the Bhopal, which had been struggling for the many years while Mumbai is an established team.

But Bhopal team, a mixture of stalwarts like Sameer Dad and Altaf-ur-Rehman and some young players, not only matched Mumbai move for the aggressive move from the very first minute of the game but also demonstrated excellent skills with stick, once the hallmark of Indian hockey and, indeed, of the City.

The clash for the title started with attacks from both sides. Performing his best in the final, Bhopal goalkeeper Imran Khan supported his teammates by foiling several Mumbai attacks. His presence under the bars proved a major stumbling block for Mumbai which failed to convert a number of moves into goals.

Bhopal made clear its intentions to capture the trophy by opening account in the 24th minute. Olympian Sameer Dad, who had been opening the account for the team all through the tournament, this time passed on the ball to Ausaf-ur-Rehman who converted it into goal.

Bhopal, that never let down their guard for a moment in the match, reaped the harvest. After the beautiful field goal by Ausaf-ur-Rehman, D Mahadick scored the second goal just before the end of the first half. Bhopal led 2-0 at breather.

Mumbai, frustrated by Bhopal in the first half, responded with a series of attacks in the second half. Mumbai scored its first goal in the 40th minute of the game. But Bhopal improved its lead by netting the third goal in the 44th minute. Fardan-ul-Rehman was the scorer.

Mumbai tried its best to bounce back but the solid defence of Bhopal foiled the attacks. However, Mumbai scored its second goal just before the final whistle and reduced the margin 3-2.

Sameer Dad sends a reminder
PROVING WRONG that he was not fit for international-level hockey, Sameer Dad strengthened his case for a re-call to the national side by performing brilliantly all through the tournament. “The excellent performance by Bhopal team proved that the there is no dearth of talent in the Capital, the need is to promote them”, said former Olympian Jalaluddin. The win is a start of new era of Bhopal hockey, he remarked.