LAHORE: The entry of Pakistan football team in the 19th Asian Games is not yet confirmed. According to Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) sources NOC had given the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee March 15 as deadline for confirmation of entry but NC did not respond.
However a source in NC told The News that every effort would be made to negotiate the matter with the POA so that Pakistan could feature in the quadrennial extravaganza to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.
In the last Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018 Pakistan had finished third in their group. After losing to Vietnam 3-0 and Japan 4-0 the Green-shirts defeated Nepal 2-1 in their last group show to finish third and so exited.
If entry is confirmed in this year’s Asian Games in China then it would help Pakistan a lot in their preparation for this year’s World Cup Qualifiers to be held in October.
Following years of inactivity NC has started working on its men’s football team and has already provided a couple of international matches to it against Nepal and Maldives during the last few months which has helped in rebuilding of the national brigade alot.
In June FIFA window too the national team is expected to get some matches against a better opposition. From June 21 Pakistan will also feature in the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru, India, and this will also add to the experience of the young lot which also carries some potential foreign-based players who have connections with some strong clubs in England, Denmark and other countries.
Pakistan team camp will also resume after May 20 here at Lahore to kick-start their preparations for this year’s major events especially the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers where NC wants it’s team to at least clear the first hurdle and create history.
Shehzad Anwar is acting as Pakistan head coach and he has the assistance of a couple of Brazilian practioners who have been doing a great job to reshaping the brigade which needs some quality preparation following years of inactivity due to internal politics which has inflicted an unprecedented damage on the country’s football.