Quetta’s Mali Bagh stadium saw some interesting contests of the Super8 stage of the Ufone Balochistan Football Cup’s 3rd edition. The teams went through blood, sweat and tears to get a chance to play in the semifinals of the most liked tournament of the province.
Chairman Balochistan Football Association, Haji Abdul Rauf Notizai was the chief guest on the occasion. Speaking about the tournament he said,
This tournament has contributed in bringing raw talent in to the limelight, and I will thank Ufone in supporting and investing in this platform. Ufone’s commitment will always be remembered as the initiative that has truly revived football in the province.
Earlier on, two thrilling games of the Super8 were played on 25 March. In the first match, Afghan FC Pishin beat Bacha Khan FC Loralai 7 – 6 in a close penalty shoot-out. Scoring first at the 50 minute mark, Muhammad Saleem from Bacha Khan FC Loralai kept his team ahead in the match. However, this lead was short lived when in the 62nd minute Sultan from Afghan FC Pishin scored an equalizer. Both the teams had scored 1 goal each at the fulltime and the match had to be decided in a penalty shoot-out which the Afghan FC Pishin won.
The second match was played between Tiger Raesani FC Quetta and Jallawan FC Khuzdar. Both teams tried very hard but were not successful in scoring until the fulltime. After a sensational penalty shoot-out Jallawan FC Khuzdar emerged victorious beating Tiger Raesani FC 5 – 4.
On 26 March, Afghan FC Chaman beat Panjgur FC 3 – 0 in a one-sided contest during the third game of the Super8 stage. Dominating the game from the start, Amanullah scored the first goal during the first half to get his team in a leading position. Building on the early success Abdul Rahim scored the second goal to increase Afghan FC’s lead in the match. During the 73rd minute, Sohrab scored another goal to seal the victory for his team.
The ‘Qualifiers’ and ‘Eliminators’ were played in eight cities this year, while the Super8 matches were played on 25 and 26 March. Successful teams of the Super8 will now battle it out for a place in the title decider. The semi-finals will be played for the first time, under floodlights, in the tournament’s history today, with the final scheduled for March 28.
The inaugural edition of the championship was launched in 2017 with the aim of developing football in Balochistan and providing the youth with a platform to showcase their talent. Football enjoys immense popularity among the youth in the province and is played in almost every village in the province. Balochistan has produced numerous football stars that play at the national level, such as Fazal Muhammad and Riaz Khan, who have previously participated in the tournament and provided insights and tips to promising, eager young footballers and students in the tournament.
The inaugural edition was held in four cities of Khuzdar, Chaman, Pishin, and Quetta with Muslim FC Chaman winning the title. The second edition which was held in 2018 was expanded to Loralai and Nushki where Aqua FC Quetta lifted the trophy. This year is the championship’s third edition where the qualifying round was held in two additional cities of Panjgur and Gwadar. A total number 720 young footballers and 48 teams competed for the Super8 stage of the tournament.