Mumbai : Former champions Western Railway and Sports Authority of India (SAI) will set the ball rolling as they clash in the opening Pool-B Mumbai ‘Super League 2015’ match, organised by the MHAL (Mumbai Hockey Association Limited), at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgate, on Monday at 2.30 pm.
Later in the evening, Western’s counterparts, Central Railway face off against a spirited Indian Navy in a Pool-A encounter at 4:15 pm. A total of 14 teams, three more than last year, are vying for the top honours in the Mumbai ‘Super League’. The 14 teams have been split into two groups, of 7 teams each.
Western, who had finished in 4th position last season and promoted SAI are placed in Pool-B along with last year’s runners-up Air India, ONGC, Central Secretariat, BEG (Bombay Engineering Group) and Union Bank of India.
The other teams in Pool-A include defending champions Indian Oil, Punjab National Bank, Namdhari XI, Rhema Sports and Abhi Foundation.
Meanwhile, oft-crowned champions Air India, recent winners of the MHAL Guru Tegh Bahadur All India Gold Cup, and aiming to regain the Super League title, the symbol of supremacy in Mumbai hockey, open their campaign against BEG on Friday. Holders Indian Oil, who surprisingly failed to make the semi-final round of the Guru Tegh Bahadur event, will play the opening match against Rhema Sports on Saturday.
“This year the Super League will once again witness top quality matches as leading teams like Indian Oil, Air India, Western and Central Railway, Indian Navy, Punjab National Bank to name a few are participating in the league. Three more teams, ONGC, Namdhari XI and BEG have also returned to play in Mumbai, which will make the league more challenging,” said MHAL Hon. Secretary, Ram Singh Rathor.
“We (MHAL) are proud to host this tournament and provide our players, especially the younger lot, the platform to showcase their talent and skills. It would also give them the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the former Indian stars, who will be representing their respective teams,” he further added.
The initial phase of the tournament will be played on a round-robin league basis. After the completion of the league matches, the teams which finish first in their respective pools will qualify to play the Super League ‘Championship’ match on Thursday, September 24 while the second placed teams from the two pools will contest the third place match to be played earlier on the same day.
The champions, runners-up and third place winners will be presented with trophies and cash awards. There will also be individual awards for the Best goalkeeper, Best defender, Best midfielder, Best forward and the Player of the Tournament. In addition there will be a ‘Man-of-the-Match’ award at every match.
Groupings: Pool-A: Indian Oil, Punjab National Bank, Namdhari XI, Central Railway, Indian Navy, Rhema Sports, and Abhi Foundation (promoted, Senior Div runners-up).
Pool-B: Air India, ONGC, Central Secretariat, Western Railway, BEG, Union Bank of India and Sports Authority of India (promoted, Senior Div champs).