KARACHI: The Pakistan football community fears that the National Challenge Cup may not take place this year due to a lack of sponsors for the annual tournament featuring top departmental and club teams.
According to the reigning Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions, K-Electric coach and Sindh Football Association official Hassan Baloch, the departments and the football clubs were looking forward to playing the Challenge Cup in April. However, no notification from the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has been issued yet.
“We heard that the Challenge Cup will take place in April,” Baloch told The Express Tribune. “But we haven’t gotten anything from the federation yet, nor from the Lahore High Court-appointed administration. So we can’t say. It would have been helpful for the local football if the Challenge Cup took place. But we don’t have anything till September.”
A concerned Baloch said that the PFF may hold the PPFL later this year. However, a long gap between the tournaments is not a good sign.
“We’ve heard that the PPFL can take place later this year, so we’ll prepare a team for it, once it is announced,” said Baloch. “It’s absolutely important to hold events, otherwise by next year all the departmental teams would disappear.”
Baloch added that National Bank of Pakistan usually sponsored the Challenge Cup and it depends on their decision now.
On the other hand, PFF’s Bari said that it is important for sponsors to come forward. “We don’t have much money to hold events, hence, sponsors are needed. If we get one, we’ll hold the event,” said Bari.