Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Football not included in POA list for 2010 Asian Games!

Old PFF logoImage via Wikipedia

KARACHI: There was a hue and cry everywhere in the country about the future of football in Pakistan during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but here a major disclosure on Thursday by a Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) official that the country would not send its football team to China to show its worth in the Asian Games in November, shows the real future of the game.

After a few days of struggle this correspondent finally succeeded on Thursday to compel the stubborn acting secretary of the POA Major Afzal to officially confirm that football is not included in the list of disciplines under consideration for the Asian Games. “No, football is not included in the list under consideration for the Asian Games,” Major Afzal said. 

The decision of ignoring football for the Asian Games is surprising and a blow to the richly growing sport in the country. If Pakistan’s performance in the previous Asian Games in Doha in 2006 is analysed, so there the team had played impressively and even it had given tough time to the teams like Japan and North Korea who were also the part of the World Cup. Japan, also reached quarter-final in the World Cup, had hardly beaten Greenshirts 3-2 in Doha. Moreover, majority of the Japanese team’s players which had played against Pakistan in the Doha Asian Games were seen playing in the World Cup in South Africa. 

The decision to ignore football for the Asian Games has raised many eyebrows in the football circle. “It’s very bad. I don’t want to go into politics but would frankly say that football should have been included in the Asian Games. The authorities should have put on the list those disciplines for the Asian Games in which the country have medal wining chance along with those which have good future,” the secretary of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi said. 

“Not only football is growing rapidly but our team had also played well in the previous edition of the Asian Games. We are not happy with the decision as it will harm the future of the game. Maximum exposure is badly needed for Pakistan’s football team,” Lodhi said. 

Former Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi was shocked by the news and said, “It’s ridiculous. We are not playing in the Olympics and World Cup and the Asian Games is the only other platform left where our team gets a chance to face some strong teams of the region.” 

Pakistan’s most qualified coach Nasir Ismail said, “Its shameful act. Without exposure you cannot raise the standard of the game.” 

More interestingly, Pakistani government is only giving the PFF Rs1.5 million annually and it is FIFA which is patronising the game by filtering $250,000 per year. The aid from FIFA is subject to proper utilisation and performance.
[COURTESY: Alam Zeb Safi - The News]

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