Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Inspired by KESC, PAF manager Arshad Khan wants foreign players in his team for the next Pakistan Premier Football League (PFFL) season. PAF boosted their status last season when they finished fifth.
This time, the departmental side is currently ranked in third place. They are touted as one of the top contenders which include defending champions KRL, KESC and four-time champions Wapda.
KESC hired a Nigerian striker this season, Oludeyi Abayomi, and Khan said that he would want trainee pilots who come to Pakistan from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and even Nigeria to play for his side in the next PPFL edition.
“Even this time I tried to hire a few players from the Risalpur Base who came there for pilot training,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “They were very talented footballers, some were local as well, but they needed to stay fit for their pilot-training. I couldn’t finalise their contracts with the football team due to the rules.
“But in hindsight, I want foreign players to represent PAF in PPFL.”
Khan further stated that the PAF sports department director Shahid Nadeem has been a real support in bringing the football team among the top clubs in the country.
“Our aim till 2011 was just to escape relegation from the league. Now we are vying for the title. Two years ago we finished in the seventh place out of 14 teams and that was not good enough.”
Khan worked as a coach for PAF, and continued his services as manager this time due to a rule by the Pakistan Football Federation that only coaches who have ‘A’ and ‘B’ coaching certificates can be in-charge of a team. He is also working as an assistant coach with Anwar Shehzad for PAF.
Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s matches, defending champions KRL defeated Pak-Afghan Clearing Agency 1-0 in Lahore. Muhammad Qasim scored the winning goal in the 77th minute of the match. KRL stand in fifth place with 38 points.
In another fixture, PIA defeated Lyallpur FC 1-0 with Ali Adil’s goal and climbed to the fourth position with 39 points. On the other hand, Army thrashed Baloch FC 3-0 and moved to the seventh spot with 35 points.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2014.