by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir, who captained Pakistan football team in their last official game, is saddened by the way football in the country has been destroyed due to power struggle among various factions.
“Of course it has destroyed the Pakistani players,” Hassan told ‘The News’ in a chat from Denmark on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old forward, who plays for the Danish club Ishoj IF, feels sorry for the Pakistani players as they have passed through a tough period because of the infighting.
“I know many of them have played football their whole life. The income of the house, the family income, everything depends on them,” Hassan said. “I hope the situation gets better in the future. I don’t know how but Allah has better fate for us,” Hassan said.
Due to the power struggle, football in Pakistan has been in deep trouble for the last six years. Not only has the nation failed to focus on its domestic football but the conflict has also completely isolated the country internationally. Pakistan remains suspended by FIFA and it is not yet known how and when the situation will get normal.
During the said time-frame, several players lost their jobs as some departments disbanded their teams. Many more are thinking to do so if the issue persists.
Hassan said that this has not only affected Pakistan-based players but also the foreign-based players.
“As far as foreign-based players are concerned of course our life is not affected and our living is not affected like that but our football life and our passion about football and our love of life and the game, that’s of course affected,” Hassan said.
“Yesterday I was sitting with Jamal Bhuyan and was talking about how many games he has played for Bangladesh and as a captain for Bangladesh. He said around 60 to 70 games since his debut one year after us, me and Yousuf Butt. I was counting my games and I have played 20 or 21 games only. That’s shambolic, to be honest embarrassing and that’s shame. Its very sad of course, it’s all destroying,” Hassan said.
Hassan hopes he still has a chance to play for Pakistan if things go in the right direction and some miracle happens and the issue is settled down.
“I have been the skipper of Pakistan for the last two World Cups qualifiers. I was the skipper when we last played the official game against Cambodia,” Hassan said.
“But I hope I am 34 now but I am still playing in Denmark at a good level and of course the last performances from Pakistan show that I am still able if something is going to come up here in the next couple of months and something like miracle is going to happen and I am able to play,” Hassan said.
“I scored five goals in six games which I last played for Pakistan. I hope somehow we will be back on track. To be honest on the one hand I am optimistic and on the other I am pessimistic,” the Copenhagen-born Hassan said.
Following a series of troubles and uncertainty, FIFA in September 2019 installed a Normalisation Committee, giving it a nine-month mandate to hold the PFF elections but it failed badly. Then its tenure was extended until December’s end 2020 but it again failed to do anything noteworthy. And again its tenure was extended until June 30, 2021. But in March this year, a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah occupied the PFF headquarters and FIFA suspended Pakistan.