Top security, facilities will be in place for Palestine footballers

By Shazia Hasan [Dawn]

KARACHI: There will be no stone left unturned to make the Palestine football team feel safe and at home when they come to Karachi to play their second match against Pakistan at the Peoples Sports Complex in March.

The team will arrive in Pakistan for a bilateral series in February and play their first match against the national side in Lahore on February 27 followed by the second one at the Peoples Stadium in Karachi on March 2.

Lyari has been especially included in the programme as a part of Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) efforts to revive international football activity in the area since it is also known as the hub of football in Pakistan.

For the purpose, PFF officials on Tuesday met with Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs to the Government of Sindh, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, who has assured them of doing all he can in order to ensure the visiting team’s safety and comfort during their brief stay here.

The two-hour-long meeting at the Sindh Secretariat on Tuesday was also attended by police officials and other law enforcement agencies, members from the Home Department, representatives from the City Government and Lyari Town.

“Although there is still time before the Palestinian team’s visit here, we wanted to alert all the authorities to begin their planning and preparations from right now only,” the secretary sports informed Dawn.

“The Home Department will coordinate with the police and other law enforcement agencies in order to provide foolproof security to the visitors. An official visit to the Peoples Stadium will also be made on Wednesday in order to access the repair and renovation work to be carried out there, the report for which will be presented to the District Coordination Officer (DCO) soon after to do the needful,” he supplied.

The need to renovate the Peoples Sports Complex was expressed by the PFF earlier. As a part of their return tour, the Pakistan football team will visit Palestine later in April to play more matches against the Palestine football team there.

The Palestinian Football Federation has already promised the PFF of arranging Friday prayers for the teams at Masjid-i-Aqsa then.