Ex-captain Essa bemoans NC’s apathy towards football greats [The News]

Ex-captain Essa bemoans NC’s apathy towards football greats [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain Essa Khan was furious over the attitude of the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) Normalization Committee (NC) towards former players, complaining that no such player was invited to witness the World Cup Qualifying round matches held here Thursday.

Essa is the one who led the national side against Jordan in 2004-2005. “I have led the Pakistan football team for well over five years. In the recent past when Jordan team was here I was the skipper. Even without the help of foreign and imported players, the result was no different. No one from the NC took the pain to invite me to watch the same Jordan team that traveled to Pakistan after around 19 years. I kept on waiting for the call from the NC but it never came,” Essa told ‘The News’ on the telephone from Chaman.

He said he was not alone in facing such a treatment at the hands of the NC. “No former renowned player who has served the country on the football field could claim that he was given the respect he deserves by the NC when it comes to national or international activities. In other sports including cricket, hockey and squash, the boards and federations respect their former greats and make the youngsters realise that these were the players who carried forward Pakistan football in tough times. Since the NC has wrested powers in Pakistan football, it has never taken along former greats. We were not even invited to watch foreign teams in action or to participate in any other activity. Other boards and respective federations always invite at least former captains to meet and watch visiting teams and local national team players. But I think for NC we are not important,” Essa said.

The former captain added that the news emerging from Islamabad also suggests that the NC doled out invitation cards as if some private clubs were playing against each other.

“I want to remind the NC that it was the national team and as such every stakeholder has the same right. NC is here for a set period former legends who are the real stakeholders will stay in national football history forever.

Published in The News, 23 March 2024