‘No alternative to departmental football’ [Express Tribune]

‘No alternative to departmental football’ [Express Tribune]

by Natasha Raheel

KARACHI: Amid rumours of Division B league team Pakistan Steel Mills being shut down, the football fraternity in the country has urged stakeholders to not allow the departmental structure in the country to diminish.

“At the moment, the departmental structure is all we have. Given the uncertainty within the Pakistan Football Federation and a lack of any form of footballing activity happening in the country, if the departmental structure is to collapse, there is not alternative to it,” a concerned PAF coach Arshad Khan told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan Steel Mills coach and administrator Ahmed Ali Wasti, meanwhile, brushed aside rumours of the club closing.

“We aren’t closed yet,” said Wasti while refraining from disclosing any further details. “However, we haven’t gotten our salaries for months and we certainly are in a crisis.”

Sindh Football Association (SFA) official Yaqoob Baloch believes that while the signs indicate that Pakistan Steel Mills will eventually cease its operations, even if it hasn’t yet, the departments should do more to maintain their sports teams.

“Mostly, when there is a crisis in the football department, it usually leads to shutting down of operations, which is sad,” said Yaqoob while speaking to The Express Tribune.

He confirmed that the Steel Mills players and coaches haven’t received their salaries either, so there is a possibility on the verge of shutting down.

“They haven’t even competed in the Rangers tournament,” Yaqoob told The Express Tribune. “The players are worse off, and we need these departments to support them.”

If Pakistan Steel Mills shuts down, it will be the second departmental club to cease operations after Habib Bank Limited.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2016.