Palestine agree to tour Pakistan

KARACHI: Palestine has agreed to send its senior football team to Pakistan for three matches next month.

“We had invited Palestine to play against Pakistan on FIFA days next month but their reply has come a bit late but still we will try our level best to ensure their tour of Pakistan,” Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Col Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

Sources said that Palestine has agreed to play against Pakistan on October 12, 15 and 18.

“They have not yet sent their complete case and it also takes time to endorse visas. If we are unable to bring them for FIFA days in the middle of October then we could play against them here on other dates but we will not let the opportunity go,” added Lodhi.

This would be the second visit of the Palestinian team to Pakistan. They came here last year for a two-match series against Pakistan Under22 side who were preparing for the Olympic Qualifiers last year. Those matches were held in Lahore and Karachi in March and April. Palestine won the series 1-0.

Pakistan failed to pay a return visit to Palestine in May because the Israeli government did not issue NOC to the Palestine Football Association (PFA).

Lodhi said if the tour of Palestine went ahead, matches could be held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. “Palestine have already played a match in Karachi. But Karachi is a bit expensive but if we get some sponsors then we will try to schedule a match there as well,” he said.

“Interior Punjab is also an option and effort will be made to talk to the government about holding a clash there,” Lodhi remarked.

The visit by Palestine would provide some exposure to Pakistan senior team who have not played any international match since December last year.

Pakistan Under-22 team featured in the Al-Nakba International tournament in Palestine early this year. The tour was made to prepare the team for the Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia in June-July, where the Greenshirts flopped miserably.

Lodhi also revealed that a tour to Singapore is also under consideration. “Singapore has agreed to host Pakistan for a few days. We are looking at it from the expenses point of view,” he said.

Source: The News