Essa urges NC to announce Premier League, Challenge Cup [The News]

Essa urges NC to announce Premier League, Challenge Cup [The News]

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa on Tuesday demanded that the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee announce holding Pakistan Premier Football League and National Challenge Cup immediately.

“NC should announce the Premier League and National Challenge Cup schedule as it will let everyone know which teams are alive as Prime Minister has already announced lifting ban from the departmental sports,” Essa told ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

“It was important to hold National Challenge Cup and on the basis of that national team’s selection should have been made. That would have removed the reservations on selection matters,” Essa was quick to add.

“It is also important that the national team should not play against any foreign club but it should play matches against foreign nations so that it could improve its rankings,” Essa said.

“It will be a wastage of money if the national team plays against foreign clubs,” said the former skipper.

Essa also advised NC to stick to its main tasks. “NC should stick to its main jobs as currently it seems that it is working as a sort of group as several key coaches were ignored.

NC should not involve itself in likes and dislikes. NC should respect coaches and Premier League teams officials and all Premier League teams should be issued notices for club licensing. We want NC to begin domestic activities with full force and any further wait will be frustrating,” he said.

Essa stressed that the country’s mainstream international players should not be ignored for the national camp being in operation in Lahore.

“Pakistan has spent millions of rupees on these players by giving them exposure and of them the fit players should be invited for the camp.

“Some key players have been ignored. We made such experiments in the past but those did not bear any fruit and so far we have not formed any solid team. We just make experiments and opt to form a young side. I and Sunil Chhetri featured in Under-19 together but he is still playing for India, but I was forced to leave before 2010. After 2010 some other fine players were seen nowhere. We should not ignore senior players who are fit and can play football. If we give exposure to our young lot, the next coach will release this lot and we will not be able to form a national team then,” Essa observed.

“The Premier League teams are mulling an option to hold a meeting and will demand that NC begin competitions for us,” said the former playmaker.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail requested the Ashfaq group to withdraw their case relating to the PFF accounts. “I will request the Ashfaq group to withdraw their case relating to the PFF accounts. This step will protect the future of 1500 players serving in various departments,” Nasir said.

“It will resolve the accounts issue and then NC will also be able to announce activities calendar which will also force departments to form their teams,” Nasir said.

Published in The News, 7 September 2022