Matches for senior team on FIFA days unlikely

KARACHI: Poor planning is likely to hurt the possibility of Pakistan senior team playing matches on FIFA days next month.

Having failed to avail itself of the opportunity to organise matches for the team on FIFA days this month, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) wanted to invite a foreign country to play a couple of international friendly matches on FIFA days — September 7 and 11 — but so far the federation has not been able to convince any foreign country.

Maldives and Sri Lanka have refused to make any commitment with Pakistan.

“Maldives have shown no interest and said that their elections are being held while Sri Lanka said that their league would start next month, so they would not be able to unite the team for the purpose,” PFF secretary Col Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

However, he said that Afghanistan is their next target. “We have also communicated with Afghanistan and waiting for their response,” Lodhi said.

A positive response from Afghanistan also seems unlikely as it depends mostly on foreign-based players and it would be difficult to unite the whole team on short notice.

The PFF wants to play matches in Lahore or Islamabad.

Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic, who is enjoying leave in his hometown in Serbia these days, wants his team to play on all FIFA days but it seems that the desire of the coach will not be realised due to slackness on the part of the PFF.

Pakistan team camp will start at Lahore from August 25, a first step towards preparations of the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.

Pakistan senior boys have not played international football since the SAFF Cup held in December last year in New Delhi in which the Greenshirts failed to advance beyond the league stage.

All other countries have already made commitments on FIFA days, which shows that the PFF should not have depended on the emails only but should have contacted their counterparts in other countries on phone.

The News