by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: A commitment to play an international friendly on FIFA day next month is expected to be made between Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Palestine Football Association (PFA), a well-placed source in the PFF told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.
“The PFF has invited Palestine. Both nations are expected to play an international friendly on November 15 in Pakistan,” the source said. The source further said that Palestine, who are currently in Bangladesh, will travel to China after playing the expected game against Pakistan senior side at the latter’s backyard.
“Palestine are also scheduled to face China on November 20,” the source said. Palestine will also play a friendly against Bahrain on October 16.
However PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi did not confirm it. “We have written to several nations but we have received no confirmation from any one,” Lodhi told this correspondent on Wednesday.
Pakistan have a test next year as they will have to show their mettle in the World Cup qualifiers and Olympic qualifiers besides featuring in the South Asian Games.Following three years of inactivity because of legal issues, Pakistan recently resumed its international journey with participation in the Asian Games in Indonesia and the SAFF Championship in Dhaka.
The national team, including foreign-based players, also visited Bahrain for playing a few practice matches ahead of these two assignments.“After three years, we have come to know where we stand,” the PFF source said.
“Now the federation is trying to provide maximum exposure to the boys in order to build a strong side for future commitments,” the source added. Pakistan finished third in the SAFF Cup in Dhaka.
Hiring a Brazilian coach Joe Antonio Nogueira, Brazilian trainer Jose Portella and keeping with them former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa in support staff turned out to be good decisions as the team played some positive football in the twin events.
Nogueira, after witnessing a few matches of the ongoing Premier League in Multan, has left for his hometown Sao Paulo. The sources said he would return to witness the Lahore phase of the Premier League in the next few days.
Portella has been engaged with the Pakistan under-15 team as head coach. The team, training at the City School in Lahore, will feature in the SAFF Under-15 Championship to be held in Kathmandu from October 25 to November 3.Portella is a Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) License A coach.
The under-15 side, which is yet to be announced, will travel to Nepal on October 20.