Pakistan beat India to qualify for Polo World Championship '22
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Pakistan thrashed arch-rival India by 5-4, for a third consecutive time in 10 years, in the first match of Polo World Championship Zone ‘E’ playoffs at Innada Polo Club Johannesburg, South Africa, and now qualify for the XII FIP World Cup Polo Championship to be played in the USA from 26th Oct to 6th Nov 2022.
As per the Polo World Championship 2022 scheduled, there were two matches in total of four chukkers each. The second match was the crucial decider where Hamza Mawaz Khan’s heroics secured six out of the seven goals.
Pakistan Polo Association (PPA) Secretary Lt-Col Ayaz Ahmed, Pakistan team played well against India with phenomenal Hamza Mawaz Khan and Raja Sami Ullah scoring 4 goals each while young and energetic Raja Mikayel Sami and Raja Temur Nadeem scoring 3 goals each. In the last moments, the game was tied at 4-4, but Raja Temur steered the ball onto Raja Mikayel, who smashed in the match-winning goal and helped Pakistan register their first victory in the mega event.
From the Indian side, Sawai Padmanabh Singh and Shamsheer Ali secured 4 goals each while Kuldeep Singh and Naveen Singh contributed three goals each.
PPA in a statement issued said that Pakistan Polo Team outpaced India by 7-3 in the second playoff to qualify for the XII FIP World Cup Polo Championship to be played in the USA from 26th October to 6th November 2022.
Hamza Mawaz Khan’s heroics
Hamza Mawaz Khan was the hero of the day for Pakistan as he played outstanding polo and guided his team to tremendous triumph by contributing splendid six goals while another talented youngster Raja Mikayel Sami converted one goal. Other Pakistan team members were Raja Sami Ullah and Raja Temur Nadeem while Brig (Retd) Badar Zaman was the team manager.
Although India started the match with a beautiful goal to gain 1-0 lead yet Pakistan polo team made their presence felt by smashing in four fantabulous goals to earn a huge 4-1 lead. No goal was scored in the second chukker while in the third chukker, Indian players once again did well with their mallet and horses and converted two back-to-back goals to reduce the margin to 3-4. Pakistan players also bounced back well and slammed in two goals one after another to enhance their lead to 6-3.
In the fourth and last chukker, Pakistani players maintained their supremacy and not only held the Indian players from scoring more goals but also added one more goal to their tally to win the match by 7-3 and also qualify for the XII FIP World Cup Polo Championship.
The World Polo Championship takes place every three years since the inaugural tournament was held in 1987 in Argentina. For the past 10 years, India has refused to play in Pakistan nor is willing to invite Pakistan to play in their country. This is the second out of three matches the two nations have played that Pakistan has won, at neutral venues. Pakistan won in China, lost to India in Iran, and has now secured a victory in South Africa.
The World Polo Championship 2022 will be held from October 26 – November 6 in Florida USA and preliminary games will be held at Valiente Polo Farm. The semifinals and final will take place at the National Polo Center – Wellington.