Pak-India Series in England reduced to just 1 match

KARACHI: Planning for the three-match Pakistan and India football series in England has culminated in just a single match between the traditional rivals.

Moved forward from July already, the matches that were recently rescheduled for Aug 20, Sept 3 and Sept 11 will now see only one clash on Sept 3, which also happens to be FIFA Day.

“It is the ideal day for holding a match after we had to scrap the other two matches,” said Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Director Marketing & Event Management Sardar Naveed Haider Khan while speaking to Dawn on Tuesday.

About the reason behind rescheduling again, the official said: “Well, we wanted to hold the matches after Ramazan so we came up with Sept 4, 7 and 11 as the new dates which suited us better but were unacceptable unfortunately to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).”

The reason given by the AIFF was that they would then have to play the match on the 11th without five of their best players as they were needed in their local league commencing around the same time.

“So we reached a compromise — just one game,” explained Naveed Haider, who is still very excited about the whole affair.

“The match will be watched by a big 35,000 crowd, not to mention the leading coaches and scouts,” he announced.

“We are really looking forward to put on a good show there. We have already called some nine foreign players as camp probables including Zesh Rehman, Atif Bashir, Adnan Farooq, Hasan Bashir, Yousuf Butt and Irfan along with other new talented players from Denmark and the USA, details of which would be revealed at a press conference on Thursday,” he said.

“The match with India won’t end our tour of the UK as we also intend to play two more matches with clubs, for which we are considering offers from several outfits,” he provided.

Pakistan delegation of 22 players and five officials, headed by Sardar Naveed Haider Khan, will leave for the UK on Aug 30 to return on Sept 8.