Sri Lanka Air Force to tour Pakistan in February [Express Tribune]

Sri Lanka Air Force to tour Pakistan in February [Express Tribune]

KARACHI: Pakistan Air Force (PAF) football club will be hosting their Sri Lankan counterparts, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) FC, in a three-match series in February after the successful conclusion of the first leg of the bilateral series in Sri Lanka last week.

PAF returned home after playing three matches against SLAF where they won the series 1-0, winning the first match and drawing the other two.

For PAF manager Arshad Khan, the tour reaped many rewards as not only did the team manage to invite a foreign team to Pakistan, many players received offers from SLAF and the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) to participate in the Sri Lankan Premier League which begins in April.

“It has been a wonderful experience and it was something we desperately needed,” Arshad told The Express Tribune. “There haven’t been any matches for us in the absence of the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and the Challenge Cup, so this was extremely motivating. The offers to play in their premier league has given us a new aim and revived our spirit.”

Arshad revealed that PAF captain Muhammad Asif, defenders Muhammad Sufyan, Muhammad Sohail and striker Mansoor Khan have been offered to become a part of the SLAF, while his skills as a coach helped him gain an offer as well.

“SLAF were a tough opponent and we had injuries in our team. So the challenge was to use the players smartly; I guess it was the way we handled ourselves that impressed them,” said Arshad.

Arshad added that SLAF’s tour to Pakistan in February can also be a lesson for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

“I think the PFF will take notice. If a club can bring international football to Pakistan on its own then the PFF should be able to do the same. They just need to stop fighting for the office and do their job of promoting football,” he said before adding that he will request the PFF to hold one of the matches at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore, which serves as the headquarters for the PFF.

Published in The Express Tribune, 25 December 2016