Pakistan set to miss SAFF U16 Championship [Geo Super]

Pakistan set to miss SAFF U16 Championship [Geo Super]

by Faizan Lakhani

KARACHI: The Pakistan football team is set to miss the SAFF U16 Championship in Bhutan after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) didn’t get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). 

The development was confirmed on Tuesday by PFF NC Chief Haroon Malik. 

“We won’t participate in the event because we didn’t get the NOC,” said Malik. “It is extremely disappointing that we didn’t get the NOC on time.” 

The Pakistan team was supposed to leave for Bhutan today. 

However, Malik was hopeful that the U19, U23 and national teams will get the NOC for the upcoming events in September.

When DG PSB Shoaib Khoso was approached on the matter, he said that the delay was due to incomplete documentation sent by the PFF.

He added that “PFF’s lawyer also admitted that the paperwork was incomplete”.

Despite the incomplete documentation, we processed the case but the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination raised objections on it.

However, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Shaza Khawaja, offered a glimmer of hope later during the day. 

It must be noted that the issuance of NOC is a recurring problem faced by the PFF since the same happened with the national men’s and women’s team in the recent past.

The SAFF U16 Championship will take place from September 1-10.

As per the announced schedule, Pakistan are set to kick off their campaign against the home side, Bhutan, on September 1 at Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu.

The Green Shirts will face the Maldives on September 3 at the same venue, with the top two teams qualifying for the semi-final stage. 

Published in Geo Super, 29 August 2023

The News, 30 August 2023, adds:

LAHORE: Carelessness on the part of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee has deprived the country’s under-16 football team of the opportunity to feature in the Under-16 SAFF Championship which will begin in Bhutan on Friday.

Pakistan team, which had prepared well, was scheduled to fly out of Lahore for Bhutan on Tuesday but could not do so as the federation could not get NOC.

This correspondent has learnt that due to incomplete documents the NOC case could not be processed. The IPC Ministry had advised the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to tell the PFF NC to submit complete documents so that its case for under-16 team could be processed.

The NOC is issued by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The PFF NC sent incomplete documents which we processed and at the same time intimated NC that the Ministry of IPC will reject the case as the federation had submitted incomplete documents. And that happened. IPC Ministry told us that the Board should get complete documents from the PFF NC. We wrote to NC accordingly,” Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) Director General Shoaib Khosoo told ‘The News’.

“When I took charge as PSB DG four months ago we sent NC the whole guidelines regarding obtaining NOC. There are 44 federations affiliated with the Board and no federation faces any problem in getting NOC except the PFF NC,” he said.

“Actually NC does not want to give the required undertaking,” Shoaib was quick to add. “We have shown the whole file to NC’s lawyer today and showed him the entire guidelines how other federations put up their NOC cases,” he said.

Asked whether Pakistan under-23 team will get NOC for the 2024 Asian Cup Qualifiers to be held in Bahrain in a few days, Shoaib said he thinks the case is with the IPC ministry.“But the documents are incomplete. NC’s lawyer came with the whole documents today and we sent the case to the IPC ministry. You know NC plays overseas players and the delay also happens because of this,” he said.