Faisal hopes Imran brings revolution in Pak sports, Nepal victory ‘good sign’ [The Nation / Dawn]

Faisal hopes Imran brings revolution in Pak sports, Nepal victory ‘good sign’ [The Nation / Dawn]

Lahore  –  Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has hoped that new Prime Minister Imran Khan bring revolution in Pakistan sports and take them to new heights.

Talking to media here at the PFF Secretariat on Monday, Faisal congratulated Imran and also endorsed his announcement of restoring the occupied grounds and establishing new stadiums. “We direly need new grounds and stadiums to promote sports at rapid pace. More stadiums and better infrastructure will guarantee betterment in Pakistan’s sports while increase in number of football stadiums will attract the youngsters towards football, which is the largest playing game of the world and has a phenomenal following in the country.”

The PFF chief also demanded the Prime Minister to provide funds to the football federation, so that the PFF may bring quality and increased skills in Pakistan football. “We have enhanced the dailies of our players and want further raise in it, for which we are in dire need of financial support from the government, as well as private sector. I expect the government to release at least Rs 100 million grant for the PFF as it will help us achieve our goals gradually.”

Young Pakistan football team has recently defeated 161st–ranked Nepal by 2-1 in the South Asian Games 2018 group D match. Faisal dedicated the victory of green shirts to the players, coaches, football lovers and the entire Pakistani nation. “Regaining the control of PFF only in March 2018, we had very less time to prepare for the Asian Games, as we had faced three years illegal occupation of Football House and no activity, but the way the national coaches trained the boys and Pakistan team players gave out their best performance, it has been a tremendous achievement.

“It is just start as we have started from scratch. We have more important tasks ahead including SAFF Championship 2018 and I am quite hopeful that with our sincere and collective efforts, we will succeed in improving Pakistan team’s FIFA rankings. But for this, we need funds, support and interference-free environment, which are key to Pakistan football success,” he added.

The PFF President also clarified that the international coaches have their own standards and set rules, which they followed very strictly and one of those was ‘no compromise on fitness’, as this is helping green shirts giving better results in the mega event. “The head coach has been given all the powers, as he is responsible for the team’s performance. During the training camp, they observed strict physical fitness criteria for the players, which enabled them to build a strong squad for Asiad. But on the other hand, if any player didn’t come up to their criteria and especially lacked physical fitness, they didn’t consider him.

Meanwhile, inside sources told this scribe that when Kaleem Ullah joined the camp, he wasn’t fully fit. When he was asked by the trainer to start training, he ignored the instructions and also left the camp without informing the head coach and very next day, he departed for Turkey to take part in the 5th grade amateur league, which shows he is least bothered about Pakistan football team.

Faisal thanked AFC for sanctioning three hundred thousand dollars for rebuilding of PFF secretariat which was destroyed during the three years occupation by non-footballers, but he said had this not been destroyed, the amount could have been spent on development of Pakistan football and footballers. “We also are focusing on establishing academies all over the country and also want to lay astroturf, as it will help in making the players physically strong.”

The PFF chief also said that FIFA has asked the PFF to revise and amend its statues according to international bodies and also review the congress composition. “We are holding the PFF Congress to deliberate on the matter,” he said.

Faisal also revealed that the PFF has requested Japan Football Association to provide a coach to train Pakistan women footballers. “They have promised us to provide a professional coach. We have a number of assignments for women’s teams in near future.”

About Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), he said: “We want to bring revolutionary changes in Pakistan Premier Football League, as we have planned to include at least two to three international players in the teams, which will make the league more competitive and enthralling.”

He also disclosed the idea of holding first ever professional Pakistan Football League, which will be launched next year. “The PFF is in talks with its stakeholders to launch its first ever professional football league, which will give the players financial boost and opportunities to play alongside international footballers.”

Published in The Nation, 21 August 2018

Dawn adds:

LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) president Faisal Saleh Hayat has termed national team’s victory against Nepal at the ongoing Asian Games a bright omen for the country.

Pakistan beat Nepal 2-1 in the Indonesian town of Cikarang on Sunday after facing defeats at the hands of Japan (4-0) and Vietnam (3-0) at the Asian Games.

“While Japan and Vietnam are strong teams, enjoying 59 and 102 FIFA world ranking, respectively, no one should underestimate our team’s win against Nepal since they are also 40 positions ahead of Pakistan [in the rankings],” said Faisal while talking to reporters here at the FIFA House on Monday.

“Pakistan football was progressing, as we had beaten India and Afghanistan, before the ‘Qabza mafia’ in its lust to get control over the PFF totally ruined football in the country; as a result three precious years of our football were wasted.

“In March this year, we regained the control of PFF after a three-year tussle and rebuilt a new team for this high-level competition [Asian Games] which won against Nepal which is a good sign,” he added.

About PFF’s future programmes, he said an amendment would be made in the constitution to expand the Congress in compliance with the FIFA constitution.

“We are also going to set up academies across the country to pick teenage footballers and then shape them up for international contests. Moreover, FIFA will provide an 4G pitch to Pakistan to be laid in Khanewal,” he disclosed.

“We are also working on to introduce a high-profile [football] premier league of Pakistan; and intend to include two, three foreign players in each team of the league.”

To a question as to why Kaleemullah, one of the key Pakistan players who was not selected for the Asian Games since he was playing league in Turkey, Faisal defended the decision of team’s coach and trainer.

“Kaleemullah was invited to the [national] fitness camp where he failed to prove his fitness and did not look serious for selection, as after reporting at the camp next day he disappeared,” said Faisal.

“In Turkey, he is competing in the fifth-tier league which shows how much he has lost his skills and fitness.”

Interestingly, on the other hand, Kaleemullah in a recent statement has said that the PFF chief ousted him from the national team.

Whether the PFF, like the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), had any plan to award central contract to players, Faisal said it would depend on the financial strength of the national football federation.

He also appealed to the newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to chalk up a plan under which the national sports federations could get easy access to sports infrastructure, without any interference of the bureaucracy.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018