Hosts PFF confident despite security concerns

By Natasha Raheel Published: June 26, 2013

KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi insisted that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U16 Championship matches would still take place in Karachi despite the poor law-and-order situation.
The PFF are scheduled to hold the AFC U16 Championship Group E qualifiers at the People’s Stadium, featuring teams from Iran, UAE and Sri Lanka, in September. However, security concerns in Karachi are seen as a potential threat.
Lodhi said that while the qualifiers were chalked out by the AFC in January, there was still no reason behind changing the tournament’s schedule or venue right now.

“We don’t think the security situation should affect sports,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “The law-enforcement agencies in Karachi have assured us about the players’ security.
“Terrorism shouldn’t stop us from holding any event. None of the participating countries have raised any concerns yet. Things will only become difficult if we don’t cope with the pressure. But right now as the situation stands, all the countries are known to be participating.”
SAFF training camp underway
The PFF’s national camp for the SAFF U16 Championship also started in Lahore yesterday under the supervision of coaches Sajjad Mehmood and Hassan Baloch.
Pakistan are gearing up to head to Nepal for the SAFF Championship starting July 20.
“We have two SAFF competitions this year, the U16 and then one for the national side in September,” said Lodhi. “I can’t really comment on the chances of the senior team, but I have very high hopes from the junior side.”