13 foreign players roped in by IHF-ESS hockey league

MUMBAI: The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) today announced the members of the five Tier I teams along with their respective coaches and managers. A total of thirteen foreign players have confirmed to play for the inaugural Premier Hockey League (PHL), the confirmed player list including two international captains – Wasim Ahmed from Pakistan and Juan Pablo Escarre from the Champions Trophy winning Spain. Sohail Abbas, the great Pakistani player will be playing for the Hyderabad Sultans under the captaincy of Dilip Tirkey.

ESPN -Star Sports will be telecasting all the Tier I matches live and exclusive while selected Tier II matches will be broadcast on a deferred Live basis. These will be preceded by a special weekly programme titled the Scoop. The first match of the league will be between the home team ‘Hyderabad Sultans’ and Gaganajit Singh lead ‘Sher-e-Jallandhar’.

ESPN Software India managing director R C Venkateish says, “It is heartening to see three years of detailing and hard work taking shape. In exactly eight days from today sports fans across India will enjoy a world class league being brought to them at viewer friendly times with great analysis and world class telecast live and exclusively on Star Sports. Our world-class production crew, with some the finest equipment flown in from our Singapore offices where we have a state-of-the-art production centre, will be working overtime to ensure that the PHL telecast is among the best in the world. Considering that

hockey is our national game, it adds to the joy of creating a world class sports property. Experienced colleagues will also be flying in from Singapore to produce and direct the PHL telecast. All Tier I matches will be telecast in English and in Hindi.”

IHF president K P S Gill gushed, “I am delighted with the response we have received from the international hockey fraternity in the very first year. To be able to attract 13 foreign players shows the profile we have been able to build for the league in the very first year itself. Two out of list includes the Pakistani and the Spanish Captain from the recently concluded Champions Trophy. Presence of Sohail, Juan Pablo, Nor Azlan, Wasim Ahmed also endorses that this league is set to make an international mark in the first few years itself. We are expecting more confirmations to come within the next 2-3 days. Els van Breda Vriesmann, president, International Hockey Federation has also confirmed to be in Hyderabad to witness the inaugural match.”

According to IHF, players across the country have been extremely excited at the opening of this new opportunity to showcase their wares. PHL will greatly benefit the players as they will get an avenue to display their talent and be recognised by the sports fans. IHF has ensured that players are provided good carefree environment for them to perform well during the


The Hyderabad Sultans team includes – Dilip Tirkey (Captain) Sohail Abbas (Pakistan), Wasim Ahmed (Pakistan), Rajasekhar S, Inderjeet Singh Chadha, Ajitesh Rai, Harsha Vardhan, Chandan Singh, Suresh, Lazrus Barla, Sameer Dad, Sreejesh (Goal Keeper), Nitya Jayanand, Cyril Ekka, Susan Topno and Ahmed Alam (from Pakistan). The team will be managed by P Kanthiah (Manager), Narendra Pal Singh will be the Chief Coach. He will be assisted by K Dr. Bose ( Asst Coach). Alphonse Lazrus will be the trainer of the team while Arjun will be the assistant Manager.

Speaking on the occasion, Leisure Sports Management managing director Benu Dasgupta says, “It is great to see that our dream project the Premier Hockey League is all set to capture the minds and hearts of the hockey loving people of India. I had the great honour of giving the presentation on PHL at the recently concluded FIH congress at the Leipzig, Germany where the concept was well appreciated by all the members giving us the confidence and impetus to make this event one of

the best in the world.”

The month long league kicks off on 13 January with Innovations being made in the ‘PHL’ to increase viewer interest in the game. Each game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 second each, instead of the two halves. New concepts of time-outs have also been introduced in order to liven up the game. The winner within the stipulated time will get three points for each victory while the team winning in the extra time will share the points 2:1.

The league will have two tiers having five teams each in the first

year. Tier I will be called the Premier Division and Tier II will be

called the First Division. The league will follow a round robin

format with all teams playing each other twice. The winner will be decided on the basis of total points.

PHL will offer a total prize money of Rs 7.1 million. The winner of the Tier I will take home RS 3 million while the runners up will carry RS one million. The winner of Tier II will get RS 400,000 while the runner up will receive RS 250,000. Allocation of above prizes between players and the respective associations however shall be specified later by IHF.

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