The much-awaited 10th edition of Men’s Asia Cup Hockey will get underway today in Dhaka in a low-key manner after the Asian Hockey Federation refused to give any extra slot to the hosts Bangladesh Hockey Federation to welcome the Asia’s biggest hockey extravaganza after a span of 32 years.
India will face Japan in the opening match at 3:00pm before hosts Bangladesh take on Pakistan at 5:00pm in country’s first ever international match under the floodlights at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium.
The local organising committee was planning to make the opening of the eight-nation tournament colourful with some cultural display and fireworks but the AHF didn’t allow them to make things extravagant.
‘We had to change our mind after AHF told us to keep the opening simple,’ secretary of tournament
organising committee Mamunur Rashid said on Tuesday.
Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will inaugurate the tournament along with federation president [Ari Marshal Abu Esrar] and AHF’s chief executive officer Dato Tayyab Ikram.
Mamunur said they are now planning to make the closing ceremony a memorable one with the presence of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
‘As the prime minister gave her kind consent to attend the closing ceremony, we would like to make it colourful,’ he said.
‘We have a grand plan to make it successful with cultural display and fireworks.’
The tournament opener might also lose some colour as the National Sports Council could not finish their all venue up-gradation works even a day before the start.
However, AHF high-ups said it would not wait for it and would go ahead with the matches because the local organisers made the surface ready.
NSC spent nearly Tk 16.5 crore to upgrade the Moulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium as they have installed much-desired floodlights, power sub-station and electronic scoreboard as well as upgraded the drainage system of the stadium.
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