Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has hired the services of a Nigerian footballer for the forthcoming Pakistan Premier Football League which will start from September 1, it was learnt here on Tuesday.
“Yes, we have hired the services of Oludeyi Abayomi Sunday of Nigeria and if anything undesirable did not happen in the meantime he would definitely be the part of KESC team in the Premier League,” KESC Sports Manager Zabe Khan told ‘The News’.
“We have written to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for an NOC and the Board has forwarded the case to the Interior Ministry and once we get the green signal the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will write a letter to Pakistan’s embassy in Nigeria for issuing visa to the player and we will send him the ticket,” Zabe added.
The contract has been made through a Nigeria-based agent. Zabe hoped that the induction of the foreigner would enhance KESC’s title winning chances.
“The details the player has sent to us show that he has also been called for the Nigeria national team camp. Nigeria enjoys a decent world ranking of 35 and if the boy, born in 1993, is a good one he will certainly help us win the Premier League,” added Zabe.
“You know we need a good frontline. We always suffer due to poor finishing. I hope Abayomi would become a good addition to our frontline that also has Mohammad Rasool,” the official said.
This will be the first time in the history of the Premier League that a foreign professional footballer will be seen in action. It will be an inspiring initiative and will instill a new life into the country’s football which direly needs professionalism.
But Abayomi, who has shown his weight as 65 kg and height six feet, will not be paid too much and that is why it is premature to predict of what calibre the player will be. “We will give him Rs55,000 per month,” Zabe said.
KESC skipper Mohammad Essa termed it a great step. “It’s a great step and will help Pakistan football turn professional,” Mohammad Essa told this correspondent.
“Our top officials Ghufran and Zabe played a key role in the whole episode. It will bring change in the country’s league and will make it market-oriented,” said Essa, also a former Pakistan captain.
He urged other teams to follow KESC.
“Other teams should also hire professional footballers for the top league and it is the responsibility of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to make it mandatory for each outfit to have in their line-up three to four foreign footballers for the Premier League,” Essa stressed.
He said unless Pakistan strengthens its league it will not perform well at the international level. “We need a strong domestic structure and it is not possible without making the Premier League professional,” the playmaker said.
Meanwhile, the newly promoted Pak Afghan Clearing Agency (PACA) is likely to hire the services of two players from Afghanistan for the Premier League.
“We are in talks with a couple of players from Kandahar and hopefully we will be able to finalise deal with them for the Premier League by August 15,” said Essa, who is co-owner of the Chaman-based PACA.
“One is striker and the other is defender. Both are good players and their inclusion will strengthen our lot for the Premier League,” Essa said.
KESC had last season finished as runners-up behind the three-time champions Khan Research laboratories (KRL).
They will hold their training camp for the Premier League by August 15. As many as 16 teams will be featuring in the top league and the bottom-six outfits will be relegated to the PFF League (B Division).