SSGC Forfeits, Army and Nushki Win, KRL Held

[Compiled using reports from The News, Dawn, The Nation and Business Recorder]

In a disappointing development, Chaman’s Afghan FC got a walkover against Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) after the later did not turn up for the 7th Pakistan Premier Football League match which was scheduled to be held at the Government High School Ground in Chaman on Thursday.

Security concerns prompted SSGC to concede a walkover. “We contacted SSGC officials but they said that their team could not come for the tie due to security reasons. So we had to give a walkover to the hosts Afghan FC as per rules,” the match commissioner Ali Shah told ‘The News’ from Chaman.

Several teams had written letters to the PFF that they would not be able to play their away matches in Balochistan due to fragile security environment in the region.

The walkover helped Afghan FC pushed their points to seven from three matches.

Commenting on the matter, former national team coach Nasir Ismail said that he was really disappointed to learn that sportsmen from our own country thought that way. “We just cannot afford to ignore our own playing centres like this,” said he License ‘A’ coach while speaking Dawn on Thursday.

“Sports is a healthy activity. It combats terrorism. And being sportsmen, we are all ambassadors of peace here. If SSGC had gone to Chaman to play the match there, they would have been pleasantly surprised for there is nothing even remotely close to ‘dangerous’ at the football ground there,” he said.

“Besides, how can we complain about foreign teams not coming to play in Pakistan when we ourselves fall victim to such bias?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force’s ambition of completing double over Pakistan Army in Pakistan Premier Football League failed to materialise as soldiers earned revengeful 3-1 win over airmen while in another match KRL drew Navy 1-1. Pakistan Army who suffered 0-1 defeat at the hands of PAF on the opening day, took sweet revenge within eight days with 3-1 win in the second leg between the two teams.

Their star performer was twenty-two years old Faisalabad -born Muhammad Ikram who recently joined four times national Champion. He shattered the defence of rival team with two sparkling goals in the 36th and 42nd minutes, leaving keeper Khalid Khan stranded on both occasions. Soldiers enhanced the lead further through Muhammad Imran in the 49th minute to make it 3-0. Muhammad Zeeshan struck the consolation goal for the PAF. With the loss, PAF have four points from four meetings, while Army has seven points from same number of matches.

KRL were forced to play another drawn game when Pakistan Navy did well to halt them 1-1. International midfielder Mudassar Saeed (Rawalpindi) opened the deadlock after 0-0 first session. His sweetly-timed drive in the 66th minute proved too smart for seamen’s defence but Bilal, 18-yerar-old front runner who joined Navy from KPT, levelled the issue in the 79th minute. Bilal utilized fine work of Nomi Martin and Asif Mehmood and when the ball came his way it was into the net leaving Mastung-born keeper Ghulam Nabi in no man’s land. Navy is still winless while KRL managed five points in three matches.

At the Nushki Stadium in Balochistan, Habib Bank went 0-1 down against Baloch FC. Naseebullah struck the winner for the hosts in the 85th minute.

Today’s fixtures: WAPDA v Young Blood FC (Garhi Shahu’s Railway’s Stadium, Lahore), PMC Athletico v PEL (Railways Ground, Faisalabad).