by Faizan Lakhani
KARACHI: The Pakistan football team will be visiting India for South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship after it got the nod from the foreign and interior ministries.
The SAFF Cup is scheduled to be played in India from June 21-July 4.
The foreign ministry had given the clearance on June 2 while the interior ministry had given it on Thursday. Following this development, the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and Pakistan Sports Board will formally issue the no objection certificate (NOC).
On the other hand, the team applied for a visa through the Indian embassy in Mauritius, where it is playing a four-nation cup, two days ago.
Sources shared that the Pakistani team officials have provided all the documents to the Indian embassy, including the clearance from the Indian government, however, it has demanded that they will need written clearance from the Pakistani mission in Mauritius for the visa.
Officials, who spoke to Geo News on the condition of anonymity, stated that the clearance from the embassy will be issued after the NOC is given to them.
If everything goes according to schedule, then the Pakistan football team will leave Mauritius for India on June 18.
In the four-nation cup in Mauritius, the football team has had a tournament to forget. The team was knocked out of the tournament a day earlier after they lost their second match to Kenya by 1-0.
Pakistan will face Djibouti in their last match of the tournament on June 17.
The current Pakistan team is dominated by diaspora players with some having good credentials.
It will be a testing time for the foreign-based staff and will be interesting to see how they perform for the country in the upcoming assignments including SAFF Cup scheduled to be held in Bengaluru from June 21 to July 4.