Challenge Cup: NBP’s victory shows increasing standard, says PFF

From the Express Tribune website

KARACHI: NBP’s triumph at the National Challenge Cup 2013 is a sign of increasing standards at the domestic circuit, said the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), terming the club’s 1-0 win over KESC in the final as a welcome change.

Despite KESC being touted as the favourites, it was NBP who prevailed with an 81st-minute goal through Muhammad Asif.

The result reflected NBP’s inspiring path to the podium as they took out defending champions KRL 1-0 in the quarter-final before overcoming former national champions Wapda in the last-four.

Meanwhile, KESC’s dreams of claiming the title in KRL’s absence were dashed as the trophy eluded the team for the third year in a row.

According to PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi, NBP’s victory was a sign of marked improvement among the local clubs. “It was refreshing to see new clubs in the final — this year’s tournament has broken the monotony,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “NBP lost their position in the national tournaments a long time ago, but with this title they have sent out a message to the stronger clubs that they need to work harder. The top clubs had become complacent with the poor level of competition.”

He said the improvement in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and Challenge Cup will also attract foreign players, adding that changes in the country’s premier domestic tournament should be expected.

“The change from within and the attitude will have a positive impact on domestic football and any improvement in the PPFL will attract foreign players too.”