Exclusion of star player: 4 teams announce boycott of Shandur polo festival

CHITRAL: The holding of three-day annual Shandur Polo Festival is in jeopardy as four polo teams of the district on Tuesday announced a boycott of the event in protest against the exclusion of the legendary player Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk from the team.

Chitral Polo Association president Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk along with general secretary Mueezuddin Bahram and members of selection committee M Azam Khan, Zafar Ali Shah, Faqir M Nasiruddin and district council member M Hussain at a joint press conference said that freestyle polo was the part of distinguished culture of Chitral and the people had great attachment with it. “Certain people have hatched a conspiracy to exclude civilian players from the polo game and other events during the Shandur festival, which is not acceptable to us,” they said, adding that the unbecoming attitude of certain people had hurt the players of polo and fans alike. Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk, the skipper of Chitral polo team and incumbent president of district polo association, was excluded from the team all of a sudden as his name was found missing from the notification issued in late hours of Sunday. Though the selection committee had retained Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk as captain, his name was missing in the officially announced list of players. The decision drew flak from all and sundry, putting the internationally acclaimed event in jeopardy. Meanwhile, talking to reporters, Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk said the selection committee had sent the list of players to the deputy commissioner that included his name as the captain of the Chitral A team but the DC unilaterally dropped his name. He said the selection committee would soon announce the names of the polo players which it had sent to the DC. Shahzada Sikandar said the DC had no power to unilaterally reject or drop any player selected by committee.

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