Karachi: The country’s largest-ever sponsored football tournament, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) Balochistan Football Cup 2018, entered into the final round following culmination of qualifying round matches from all provincial divisions.

Kharan, Lasbela, Harnai, Gwadar, DFA Quetta, Quetta City, Qilla Saifullah, Kacchi, Chaman City and Duki successfully entered the final round along with Panjgur and DFA Chaman, winner and runner-up of the 2017 tournament.

The commencement ceremony for the final round took place on February 28 at Sadiq Shaheed Football Stadium (Malibagh), Quetta and was graced by Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Government of Balochistan, Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, as Chief Guest and MD and CEO PPL Syed Wamiq Bokhari along with area notables, tournament ambassadors, media and other guests.

“PPL remains committed towards the wellbeing of deserving communities through its diverse and long-term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. We are happy to bring forth the even larger third edition of the football cup to engage local youth of the province to exhibit their talent. A total of 60 qualifying round matches have been played with passion and energy in front of cheering fans who turned out in large numbers to support their teams,” Bokhari said.

Bokhari expressed his gratitude towards Government of Balochistan and Balochistan Football Association as well as tournament ambassadors – Kaleemullah Khan, Muhammad Essa Khan, Zahid Hameed, Saadullah, Sher Ali, Nasrullah Khan Baloch and Rajab Ali – for supporting the endeavour.

Bugti lauded PPL and other partners for organizing the mega tournament aimed towards the youth of Balochistan and bringing joy to the province. He wished all teams best of luck in the final round.

PPL is providing attractive incentives, including sports kits and prizes as well as travelling allowance, to all teams. The company has also invested in renovation of football grounds where these matches have been played.

The semi-finals and final are scheduled on March 28 and 30, respectively at Sadiq Shaheed Football Stadium (Malibagh), Quetta. The current tournament features 38 teams involving nearly 700 players with 80 scheduled matches.