Lahore, 5 November: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has approved Pakistan Army’s goal keeper Jaffar Khan as captain of Pakistan U23 team which will appear in football event of XVI Asian Games to be held under Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at Chinese city Guangzhou from 7-26 November 2010. Pakistan open the onslaught on 7 November with clash against Thailand. The match will be played 5 days prior to the opening ceremony at Haixinsha Island in the Pearl River. Other Pakistan’s opponents in Group-F will be Maldives (9 Nov) and Oman (11 Nov). Stopper Samar Ishaq, a gold medallist for KRL in PPFL 2009, will act as his deputy.
It will be eighth trip to Asian Games for Pakistan who appeared in seven editions out of 15 so far in Manila 1954, Tokyo 1958, Tehran 1974, Seoul 1986, Beijing 1990, Busan 2002, Doha 2006. The previous seven captains in Asian games for Pakistan were were M.D. Kutty 1954, Nabi Chaudhry 1958, Abdul Ghafoor 1974, Muhammad Naveed 1986, Matin Akhter 1990, Haroon Yousuf 2002 and Muhammad Essa 2006.
Jaffar, nick named Jeff, has been playing for Pakistan Army since 1998, and has been the number one Pakistani keeper for many years since his first selection in 2001. Despite his lack of height needed for modern goalkeepers, he is able to make up for this by his some good shot-stopping skills and reflexes and is also National record holder of goalkeeping, not conceding a single goal for consecutive 1262 minutes when Army clinched PPFL 2006.
“A dead ball specialist, Jaffar regularly scored from the set-pieces for the services team and his goal was attraction of the 20th NBP National Football Challenge Cup when Pakistan Army overwhelmed Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd 4-0 at Multan’s Qila Kuhna Qasim Bagh under flood-lit system,” stated by Faisal Saleh Hayat who is also FIFA Disciplinary Committee member and Chairman AFC Disciplinary Committee.Jaffar also netted such three goals in Pakistan Premier Football League.
Jaffar, 29, skipper of the Gold medalist Pakistan U23 team in the 9th SAF Games 2004 at Islamabad,was born at Panala, Dera Ismail Khan, and he became the 45th skipper of Pakistan when the national team played Kyrgyzstan in the 18th World Cup qualifiers in 2003. He also captained Pakistan in Indo Pak Series 2005, SAFF Championship 2005, 14th Asian Cup Qualifiers 2005-06, AFC Challenge Cup 2006.
As is the case with most, if not all, Army players, Jaffar Khan is still in service with the Pakistan Army as a Non-commissioned Officer and during the 08 season was called up to service for UN peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone.
His football was cut short when he left for SL after representing Pakistan Army in Lahore’s third AFC President’s Cup, was not available for Pakistan in the World Cup Qualifiers 2007 (v Iraq) and all the events in 2008. He returned to play competitive football in 2009 when George Kottan picked him for First Prime Minister Cup Invitational Football Tournament at Nepal and Thailand Tour and SAFF Championship.
Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the PPFL 2004 and 2006, Jaffar got the honor of getting AFC Distinguished Services Awards from FIFA President Sepp Blatter on 7 May 2009 at Kuala Lumpur during AFC 23rd Congress – given to selected individuals who have played major roles in the success of Asian football over the years.
Jaffar represented Pakistan for the first time in 2000 when he played in the Asian UnderU-19 Championship at Colombo and Tehran. He visited England next year and played the World Cup qualifiers at Beirut and Bangkok. He also played test series against Sri Lanka and the 14th Asian Games in 2002, followed by the 5th SAFF Championship, the Asian Cup Qualifying Round and the Athens Olympic Qualifying Round in 2003. He also appeared in Islamic Solidarity Games 2005, 15th Asian Games 2006 and twice wore Army color in AFC President Cup 2006, 2007.
Soft-spoken, lanky Jaffar welcomed the holding of the first ever Pak-India football series and said it would help in raising the overall standard of the game in both the countries besides promoting goodwill and friendship. Jaffar stressed the need to have bilateral football ties not only with India but other nations of the region. He suggested that other teams of South Asia should also be involved in multi-national tournaments on the pattern of other sports.
While praising the efforts made by PFF under the leadership of Faisal Saleh Hayat for the uplift of football in Pakistan, Jaffar said, “The hectic and positive football activities in the country are open to everyone and I think that Pakistan soccer is travelling in the right direction. “The Premier Football League, PFF League, Age-limit shows, and international competitions like the Pak-India series, Pokhara Series, the SAFF Championship, SA Games, Asian Games, AFC Challenge Cup etc are enough to assess the performance of PFF leadership.”