The stage is set for the first-ever Junior World Kabaddi World Cup with the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announcing that the tournament will commence on November 9 in Kish Island, Iran.

Scheduled until November 15, the competition will see the U-20 players locking horns for the grandest prize of all. It is believed that as many as 14 nations will participate in the event, which includes host Iran, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Iraq, Denmark, Turkmenistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. 

While it is indeed going to be a big step going forward for the sport, the absence of the Indian Kabaddi team leaves a number of questions to be answered.

The tournament will give a much-deserved stage for the likes of Kenya and others who have shown great potential in only a handful of games. The main reason behind the competition is spreading awareness, increasing interest as well as providing a platform for the younger generation.

Heading into the tournament, expect the likes of Iran, Iraq and Pakistan to dominate the proceedings.

Iran will be led by a talented captain in Amir Hosein Bastami, while there has also been the inclusion of few who were a part of the Iranian camp during the buildup of their 2018 Asian Games quest. Iraq, on the other hand, will be guided by the senior team captain, Ali Sari.

This World Cup is not only expected to provide a stage, but is also expected to be a hunting ground for the Pro Kabaddi teams, who will scout for talents during the tenure. 

Meanwhile, a plan of organizing the World Cup for the senior team is in pipeline and can happen in 2020 as a slot could not be finalised in 2019 for the same.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Chaideer Mahyuddin