Lahore, 29 November :” Pakistan has a strong tradition of sports and football is emerging to be one of the country’s passions. Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’ Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat pledged to continue his drive towards modern football with emphasis on youth development, women soccer and to professionalize the game in Pakistan. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohammed bin Hamman hailed working of PFF Chief during AFC Annual Awards Gala which will provide the perfect boost to Pakistani football and it will help to exploit the untapped potential of the game in this country.” said PFF General Secretary Lt. Col (R) Ahmed Khan Yar Lodhi.
During AFC Annual Awards 2008 Gala at the Shanghai (China), Hammam assured Faisal that PFF would be the 15th country to be part of the AFC Vision Asia program. Pakistan will be among the few countries in 2009 for AFC Vision of Asia and AFC Chief also asked the concerned departments of AFC to double the Salary in order to accommodate more coaches of Pakistan for AID-27 Scheme plus hosting rights of Age-Group events under AFC Umbrella to PFF.
“Vision Asia is the creation of AFC President, who launched the program in September 2002.It is the AFC’s grand plan for a continent-wide program to raise the standards of Asian football at all levels, be it on the field of play, administration or sports science,” explained Lodhi.
A progressive, dynamic and forward looking personality, Faisal Saleh Hayat is well and truly on the way to improve soccer in Pakistan. Kuala-Lumpur based AFC is satisfy with PFF’s heroics performance and no one can deny the fact that when Faisal took over in 2003, football was out of Radar Screen and people used to turn deaf ear towards it but now football is in every nook of Pakistan. We have achieved a lot in the last five years and enhancement of Pakistan soccer exposure to 2100 % from 2003 to 2008 as compare to Activities from 1999 to 2003 showed that we are serious, committed about uplift and welfare of this game in this part of the world.
Hammam called Pakistan’s 0-0 draw against Asian Champions Iraq at Damascus as one of the most sensational results in entire history of World Cup Qualifiers as it was the clash between developed (Iraq) and emerging (Pakistan) nation. He also praised the organizational and technical qualities of PFF while quoting the example of successful AFC President’s Cup at Lahore last year. He had asked the AFC Competition Cell to award Qualifying Group of any of the three AFC U13, U16 and U19 Championship to PFF.” It is big feat that despite security concern when cricket and hockey teams are drifting away from Pakistani soil, AFC reposed their confidence on PFF. Our current set-up is serious about hosting international events every year. We hosted SAF Games soccer in 2004, 6th SAFF Championship in 2005, AFC U14 Festival of Football in 2006 and third AFC President’s Cup in 2007. The events had arrived on Pakistani soil due to PFF’s glorious planning since 2003,” said Lodhi who added that PFF also hosted matches of 14th Asian Cup qualifiers in 2005 and 2006 while 2007 was the year for Beijing Olympics and South Africa World Cup Qualifiers.
Hammam also appreciated the efforts of PFF on Grass Root and Youth Development Level and promised the increase of Number of Coaches for Pakistan in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) AID-27 Financial Assistance Scheme. “PFF have currently twenty-seven Youth coaches to spot, select and train potential U-13 to U-18 players as part of the PFF Youth Development Program. Pakistan is among the 27 nations who are eligible for the AID-27 Scheme, and are receiving the AFC financial support for football development through the salary for coaches, especially grassroots and youth coaches,” said Lodhi.