by Faizan Lakhani
KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) is considering not playing international friendlies during the FIFA Window in September this year.
According to sources, the PFF NC will prioritise the U23 squad during the September 4-12 FIFA Window since majority of the players in the Pakistan senior team are U23.
It must be noted that the Pakistan team will participate in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers from September 6-12, where they are placed in group D with Japan, Bahrain, and Pakestine.
Pakistan will travel to Bahrain to face Japan on September 6, the hosts on September 9 and Palestine on 12th of the same month in Group D of the U23 event.
The PFF will also kick start the camp for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier against Cambodia, scheudled to take place in October, soon.
The matches will be held on October 12 and 17, this year, with Pakistan hosting the second leg.
Pakistan faced Cambodia in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers as well but lost in both legs in June 2019 with an aggregate score of 4-1.
According to current FIFA Rankings, Cambodia are ranked 176 meanwhile Pakistan are in 201.
The winner of Pakistan-Cambodia clash will join Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tajikistan in Group G for round two of the qualifiers.
Pakistan will need to improve significantly if they want to qualify for the next round of FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers, since it has lost all eight matches, scoring just one goal, after FIFA lifted a 15-month suspension last year.