Muscat: Defending Champions Team Coorg, Oman, took the third place in the Gulf Cup Hockey 2013, held at the Dubai Sports City turf ground on March 1.
Organised by UTSC for the fourth consecutive year, once again, 10 teams participated in this increasingly popular event in the region. The local clubs, having played a few tournaments leading up to the event, were tested to their limits, with a few teams bringing in professional players to ensure they were better positioned to win the trophy.
After an engrossing series of round-robin matches, where Team Coorg won against last year's runners-up Axiom Dubai (2–0), Dubai Hockey Club 'B' (6–0), Sharjah Tigers (4–0), and UAE Falcons (Red) (1–1), the semifinals were played against the team from Pakistan, UAE Falcons (Green).
Easily one of the best matches of the tournament, both teams played skilfully and made repeated attacks on their opponents' goal post. Team Coorg succeeded in gaining a penalty stroke and took the lead. The UAE Falcons (Green) team tried their best to break into Team Coorg's circle of defence. A foot goal wrongly called by the referee enabled UAE Falcons (Green) to level the score, despite Team Coorg's strong protests against the goal. The drawn game resulted in penalty shoot-outs, which UAE Falcons (Green) won, and they went on to take the trophy. Team Coorg defeated the Axiom team in the third-place playoff.
The predominantly female team from Dubai Hockey Club played some scintillating hockey and stood their ground against stronger teams.
The UAE Falcons (Red), with a mix of European and Asian styles of hockey, enthralled the spectators, while Axiom played a very decent game to take the "Fair Play" award. The Best Goalkeeper award was won by Team Coorg's Mohammed Ayyad.
With the current general secretary of the Oman Hockey Association (OHA), Redha Taqi Al Lawati, under the guidance of the Chairman of the OHA Sheikh Mahfoodh Ali Juma Al Juma, announcing the Arabian Hockey Club championship to be held in March in Muscat as well as the upcoming 6-a-side tournament for the locals to be organised by the local expats' United Tallassery Sports Club, March will be a hectic month for hockey enthusiasts.
SAS Naqvi, the sports consultant to the OHA, gave high praise to Team Coorg on their creditable performance and encouraged more expats to emulate their hard work.
Manager and Player of Team Coorg M.U. Kuttappa thanked the sponsors Al Qurum Centre, Al Rawahi International, Services and Trade Company LLC, Al Ansari, Elite Trading, Berger Paints, and the numerous individuals who came forward to contribute to the teams' expenses. He also thanked all the supporters who turned up at the stadium in Dubai. Team Coorg Captain N.A. Cariappa congratulated the organisers for raising the bar for the competition and hoped other enthusiasts would hold similar events in other countries too. He also thanked the Oman media for their support and efforts in promoting hockey in the Sultanate.
Team Coorg: M.U. Kuttappa, K.K. Poonacha, N.A. Cariappa (C), C.A. Nikkin Thimmiah, K.D. Bidappa, K.G. Kiran Kumar, Zaman Qureshi, Poorna Chandra Shetty, Mohammed Ayyad (G), Salah, Ali Humaid, Aiman Abdullah, Jarvis Ahmed, and Adil.