"Pakistan's team is confident of winning the World Cup."
The Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup 2020 returns for its seventh edition, taking place in Pakistan.
The tournament commences on February 9, 2020. The eight days competition will last until February 16, 2020. The event will see ten team battles it out, including defending champions India.
Kabaddi is a very popular sport amongst Punjabis across both sides of the border. Thus, the Kabaddi World Cup 2020 will bridge a positive role in Indo-Pak relations.
Team invitation had been sent well in advance of the tournament.
This is the first time Pakistan will host the Kabaddi World Cup on their home soil. The Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) is organising the event, with preparations in full swing.
Former international kabaddi star, Syed Shah Sultan praised PKF Chief. He specifically lauded the efforts of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Secretary General Rana Sarwar for managing to bring this international event to Pakistan.
The world was initially due to take place between January 12-19, 2020. But organisers had to reschedule due to poor weather conditions. There was a lot of rain and fog during this period. Sarwar said:
“Because of the poor weather and heavy fog we have rescheduled the event from January 12-19 2020 to February 9-16.”
Four different venues will host the matches of the World Cup.
We look back the history of the event, along with the teams, groups and venues for the 2020 tournament.
Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup
All previous six editions of the tournament took place in India. Hence, the 2020 edition will be the first to take place outside of India.
India were hosts of the inaugural which took place in Ludhiana from April 3 to 12, 2010. Subsequent World Cups took place every year, with the exception of 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Group and final matches have been hosted across various cities and towns of Punjab in India.
India is dominating the World Cup, have won all six competitions. Despite losing to India in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014, Pakistan will be hoping to clinch their first World Cup.
India convincingly beat their arch-rivals 2014 58-24, 59-22 in the 2010 and 2012 finals. The 2013 and 2014 finals were much closer, with India triumphant, 48-39, 45-42.
The 2014 final did create controversy. The Pakistan team accused the organisers of being bias. Their main bone of contention was that the match ended three minutes early.
At the time, skipper Shafiq Ahmed Chisty claimed nepotism and cheating:
“The organisers played a partisan role. The match was stopped three minutes before the scheduled close to ensure the Indian team’s victory.
“The Indian players were applying mustard oil to their bodies so that we would fail to get hold of them. We were also not allowed to drink water.”
“If this is the way the matches are going to be played and decided, we will not participate in the tournament.”
Canada had to settle for runner-up in 2011 also. The North American team also came in third place in 2010 and 2015. England also lost to India in the 2016 final.
Best finishes for the USA were third place in 2013 and 2016. Iran has had one-third place finish in 2014, along with coming fourth at the Kabaddi World Cup 2016.
Italy has come fourth place twice in 2010 and 2011.
With the last tournament taking place in 2016, the World Cup returns after four years.
Teams, Groups, Format and Venues
Ten teams from several continents will feature in the tournament. The teams have been divided into two groups of five for the mega event.
Reigning champions India, along with England, Iran Sierra Leone and USA are part of Group A.
Canada, Kenya, Australia and Azerbaijan join hosts Pakistan in Group B.
Welcoming India’s participation in the tournament, Mohammad Sarwar, Secretary of Asian Kabaddi Federation said:
“India has already showed its willingness and will be part of the competitions. Its visa process has begun.”
Following the round-robin format group phase, the top two sides from each pool will qualify for the semi-final. The winners from the last four will compete in the grand final on February 16, 2020.
The exhilarating matches will be taking place in Lahore, Faisalabad and Nankana Sahib.
The decision to host the matches in Nankana Sahib is also good because players from India can pay homage to this spiritual city for them.
Syed Sultan has also requested Senior Minister Mohammed Atif Khan to press PKB for hosting matches at the Qayyum Sports Complex in Peshawar.
The PKB has announced healthy prize money for the Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup 2020.
The champions of the Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup 2020 will collect Rs 10 million (£49,500). The runners-up will receive Rs 7.5million (£37,100), with the third-place team picking up Rs 5 Million (£24,700).
Watch 2014 final highlights between India and Pakistan here:
Pakistan who has produced players such as Haji Farooq, Lal Mohammad Khan, Hakim Khan, Abid, Malang Jan, Dil Nawaz are going into the tournament with confidence.
Syed Shah Sultan told the media that Pakistan is determined to lift their first World Cup title:
“Pakistan’s team is confident of winning the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, India will be hoping to continue their winning streak and clinch a seventh consecutive World Cup.
The Pakistan Kabaddi team have been training at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad to prepare for the World Cup.
Fayyaz Ali, Tahir Waheed and Shehzad Hanif are the three coaches overseeing the camp.
The event will begin with an extravagant opening ceremony in Lahore. An exhibition match between the women’s teams from Pakistan and Azerbaijan will follow next.
Later, the tournament will get underway with the opening match where hosts Pakistan will face Canada.
The Pakistan Kabbadi Federation will also be hoping that this tournament runs smoothly and safely. They are very keen to promote the sport to different parts of the world, particularly Europe.
The Circle Style Kabaddi World Cup 2020 extravaganza will be available to view on all major broadcasting networks across the world.