By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The recently held second edition of the Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup 2014 turned out to be a standout event of Karachi. The picturesque Lawai Stadium, illuminated with stunning floodlights, remained the talk of the town with the live telecast of the knockout games for seven nights running.
Everything about the tournament, spread over a month or so, was near perfect. The facilities at the ground were truly exceptional. It was quite extraordinary how they managed to save the pitch when it rained heavily before the start of the one of the semifinals.
There were fears that the match might have to be postponed because the rain was so heavy. But the pitch had been so nicely protected that it remained dry when the covers were taken off much to the amusement of the players and the officials. It was nothing short of a miracle that 12-overs-a-side contest was still made possible shortly at the end of the heavy downpour.
There were apprehensions in some minds about the location of the ground but, as Arif Habib, Chairman, Arif Habib Group, had so emphatically stated during the media launch of the event at the Karachi Gymkhana a couple of days before the start of the tournament, there was nothing to worry about when approaching the ground or leaving it.
The event progressed very smoothly indeed and not a single untoward incident was reported during 31 nights of cricket action. There was no issue of law and order situation in the area during the entire length of the tournament.
All the matches were played under floodlights and there was tremendous excitement at the ground which built an atmosphere that’s rarely found at other venues of Karachi these days. The dream of establishing the Lawai Stadium in Naya Nazimabad as a model cricket ground is very much on the way to fulfillment.
It has already created waves in a short span of time and it seems a matter of time when high-profile matches will be taking place at this marvellous venue. The 2nd Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup was yet another feather in the cap of the promoters of the massive housing scheme, who consider cricket as the paramount source of binding the various sections of the society.
It went to the credit of the management of the corporation to have arranged for the live telecast of the knockout matches of the 2nd Peace Cup which was a great value addition for the tournament itself. It was quite a remarkable achievement to have done it so quickly. Other local tournaments have also been televised in the recent past but it had taken ages for them to do so.
The Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup, launched only last year, was on air in only its second edition. The presence of the high-ranking government officials, including Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, and Advisor on Sports to Sindh Chief Minister, Adil Siddiqui, besides some top businessmen of the country was a testimonial to the success of the tournament.
Mohammad Iqbal, Director Sports, Naya Nazimabad, played the pivotal role in making the tournament a resounding success. The former first-class cricketer, who also has vast experience of cricket administration, worked with missionary zeal almost round the clock to ensure that everything remained in order.
The success of the 2nd Peace Cup should pave the way for further glories for the Lawai Stadium which is expected to host matches of the national cricket tournaments, organized by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), as early as the upcoming season. The Lawai Stadium, named after Hussain Lawai, a famous banker, seems set to become one of the most sought-after cricket grounds of the country.