by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Some of the departments which had disbanded their football teams in the light of the notification of the PTI regime last year are waiting for the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee to announce the activity calendar so that they could form their teams afresh.
The government has recently issued a formal notification regarding the restoration of the departmental sports.
This story is football-specific. Following interaction with some football-related sources in a few departments it was learnt that departments would go for forming their football teams after NC released an activity calendar.
“Before an activity calendar is released by the NC how can we form our football team,” a source in one of the major state-owned departments told ‘The News’.
“Our department will make a budget which will cover everything and unless there is a major event it will not be easy for us to form a team,” the source stressed.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI government in September 2021 ordered closure of departmental sports. However the new premier Mian Shahbaz Sharif withdrew that notification and restored departmental sports.
A well-placed source in another state-owned department said that they are waiting for the activity calendar from the NC.
“Yes, we will form our team once we get activity details from the NC. We have only four young players and we will need to form a new team and players will be hired on the basis of contract,” the source said.
Footballers in a major department have got stay order from court against their removal and sources said that it is possible that the department will bring in a contract-based system and will ask the players to sign that document. “There will be no regular jobs any more,” the source said.
Another state-owned department, which faced huge financial problems even when departmental system was in vogue, may still face big issues in rebuilding its football team. Its seasoned coaches have got golden handshake. Sources said it would be seen how the department forms its team and what type of coaching panel it will bring in.
Besides the armed forces, on whom the PTI regime’s notification did not apply, WAPDA and Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) are the two other major departments which kept their football teams intact despite uncertainties and they would not face any issue when a departmental football event is announced by the NC working under the Canada-based Haroon Malik.
A source, who has vast experience of departmental sports, questioned why departments are reluctant to form their teams when the government has already restored departmental sports.
Meanwhile, highly credible sources told The News that NC plans to hold National Football Challenge Cup in near future, which will also help departments to form their football teams.
Sources said that the event will be announced by the NC chairman Haroon Malik at a formal news conference at Lahore in the next few days.
It was learnt that NC was about to give finishing touches to its activity calendar which will be announced by Haroon. Sources said that Pakistan women football team is also expected to feature in a four-nation event which will be held in Saudi Arabia either before or after the FIFA World Cup.
NC provided SAFF Cup exposure to Pakistan women team recently and has also held a camp of the men’s team which these days is off and will resume from November 3.
Pakistan men’s team is scheduled to face Nepal in a couple of international friendlies in Nepal from November 14 to 21.
The team will fly out of Lahore for Kathmandu on November 13.