PESHAWAR: Former international footballers strongly appreciated Ufone’s effort to hold Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Football Cup here at the Tehmas Khan Football Stadium.
“It was a historic event as for the first time we saw here in Pakistan that an event was conducted in international style,” Pakistan’s former player and AFC License A coach Gohar Zaman told ‘The News’ here on the sidelines of the final between Peshawar Combined FC and DFA Chitral FC which the former won 4-2 on penalties.
“You have seen Premier League matches which are usually dull but here the whole atmosphere under floodlights coupled with live telecast added to the charm of the event. We had never seen anything like this in our country,” Gohar said.
Former Pakistan player Mohammad Arshad said that such events would help develop football in KP. “Other companies should follow Ufone as it was a tremendous event. Every district was engaged and a massive number of footballers, mostly young, got an opportunity to showcase their talent. The top talent will now have a chance to be selected by the major departments. And if some highly talented players are not picked by departments at this stage they will be followed in the events to come,” said Arshad, who is Pakistan Air Force (PAF) coach.
However, he was quick to add that in such events mostly young lot should be utilised. “For experienced players we have Premier League and National Challenge Cup, so in such events young blood should be given chances,” said Arshad, who played more than 62 matches for Pakistan.
Discarded international Mohammad Rasool said this was the first time that such an event was held in KP. “Ufone deserves accolades for organising this event,” he said.
Former FIFA referee Qazi Asif said it was a positive step. “The event covered almost all KP,” he said. However, he was quick to add that in future the organisers should take on board Pakistan Football Referees Association (PFRA) so that the deficiencies which this event had could be removed.
Asif said that floodlights should be improved and footballs of the best brands should be utilised. He also said neutral referees would enhance the quality of the event.
Pakistan’s current striker Jadeed Khan Pathan said the event motivated him. “I did not enjoy Premier League. I played the event under Ufone in Balochistan which our team Afghan FC won last time and that was absolutely incredible and well-organised,” Jadeed said.
Jadeed was also the brand ambassador for the KP Football Cup along with Riaz Ahmed. He said that Balochistan’s event under Ufone was more effective than the KP event. “It was because football of Balochistan is very organised,” Jadeed said.
National player and KP Olympic Association secretary Basit Kamal said that he was thankful to Ufone for organising such an event for the players of the province. “The province’s top talent was seen and they will be groomed further in future. It was a good event and such events will only lift the standard of football,” he said.
He appreciated DFA Swabi side which lost in the semi-finals stage. “Swabi’s was the best talent I have seen so far in KP. It left even Peshawar behind,” Basit said.