by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: FIFA-appointed PFF Normalisation Committee is negotiating with different nations in order to secure an additional game for Pakistan senior football team in this month’s FIFA window.
A well-placed source told ‘The News’ that Pakistan’s match against Maldives is confirmed and both nations will face each other at the Gan island in the Addu City of the Maldives on March 21.
“But effort is being made to finalise another game with a different nation which may be held after the clash with the Maldives,” the source said.
“We have two to four options and our effort is to finalise a game on March 28. There are also chances of playing a game before the FIFA window which starts on March 20,” the source said.
“We want actually to avail ourselves fully of the FIFA window as our team is in the rebuilding phase following years of inactivity due to various issues. Hopefully we will get an additional game. The issue is that almost all nations have commitments during FIFA Days. Let’s hope for the best,” the source said.
It has been learnt that the national team will fly out of Lahore for Maldives on March 18.
This correspondent has learnt that the national team’s think tanks are yet to decide which foreign-based players could be utilised during the team’s FIFA window’s engagement.
“We are working on that area. We are yet to decide which player should be invited,” the source said.
“We also face an issue as Ramadan will also begin during these days and we have to look at all these things but we are hopeful that these matches will benefit Pakistan a lot in the bid to form a solid side for this year’s major assignments,” the source said.
Pakistan are to feature in the SAFF Cup and World Cup Qualifiers this year.
SAFF Cup, as reported by media citing a tweet of India’s football governing body (AIFF) will be hosted by India in June. Previously it was planned to be conducted by Dhaka.
The World Cup Qualifiers will be held at the end of this year.
Pakistan’s football authorities also want to utilise the FIFA window in June (June 12-20) for managing some matches with strong nations in order to give enough exposure to the elite squad.
It is highly expected that the team which will play in June’s FIFA window will also be used in the SAFF Cup which is expected to be held from June 20 to July 3.