PSB to focus on football, other sports for medals; PHF to launch PFF-style Premier League in future

Lahore, 16 Feb : Syed Amir Hamza Gilani, Director General of Pakistan Sports Board, said that PSB is taking tangible efforts to produce sportspersons of international caliber and praised the functioning of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) during past five years and called it “happening” sports while chairing a meeting of the Honorary Secretaries of all the National Sports Federations on Monday, 16 Feb at Lahore’s FIFA Football House.

“The Government will henceforth focus on 15 selected sports, including football, for development at national and international. We will provide administrative, technical and financial support to them to raise the standard” he said.

The 15 games cited by Hamza with potential to win medals at international level are Athletics, Football, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Karate, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Wushu, Boxing, Billiards & Snooker.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary, Asif Bajwa unveiled plan of PFF-like Premier League for the uplift of Pakistan hockey.”It is the wish of every Pakistani to see the national game come up again and a comprehensive mega plan, like introduction of Premier Football League, launched by PFF in 2004, is required as it has the power to pull Pakistan hockey out of the dump it has fallen into,” he said.

The adoption of a two-tier League system in domestic soccer, on lines of Leagues in Europe and South America, is one of the laudable works under PFF Chief Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat who is going all out in quest of glory days for Pakistan soccer. National Championship (Tier-I) is known as Pakistan Premier Football League while PFF League is Tier-II Competition.

The standard of football in the country is enhancing day by day and both, FIFA and Asian Football Confederation appreciated the game’s advancement in the country. Faisal pledged to continue his drive to youth development, women soccer and to professionalize the game in Pakistan. PFF achieved a lot in the last five years and enhancement of Pakistan soccer exposure to 2100 % from 2003 to 2008 as compare to Activities from 1999 to 2003 showed that country’s soccer ruling body is committed about uplift and welfare of this game in this part of the world. It is remarkable that PFF is the only body affiliated with 46-member AFC to get five Goal Projects. To get Vision Asia -AFC’s grand plan – is another big achievement for PFF.

During the meeting at Lahore, important issues were discussed with Hamza observing that the other Sports Federations were not producing the desired results and overall sports standard was steadily on the decline. He called for dedicated and urgent efforts by sports federations to improve standards through planning, scientific coaching and proper talent identification, pledging administrative, technical and financial support. He reiterated that the Government provided millions of rupees to the federations but lamented that the results were not up to the mark.

Meanwhile, the officials of the national sports federations were asked to prepare their plans for fielding strong contingents in the forthcoming events like the 11th South Asian Games Bangladesh 2009, 16th Asian Games China 2010, 19th Commonwealth Games, India 2010 and 30th Olympic Games China 2012.