From our correspondent
The Haroon Yousaf inspired PMC Athletico side from Faisalabad escaped relegation from the skin of their teeth as they won their last two games in Balochistan to survive for another season PPL season causing much jubilations among team management, fans, and sports enthusiasts from Faisalabad and all over Pakistan. The team defied all odds to stunningly beat both Baloch FC Nushki 2-1 (incl. last minute penalty scored by Haroon Yousaf) and Afghan FC Chaman 1-0 in front of their own rabid fans, while relegation rivals Young Blood FC Sahiwal lost both their own respective games 1-6 and 0-2 in Balochistan. This meant Karachi’s Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Young Blood FC were demoted to PFF League 2011 as bottom two while PMC Club Athletico Faisalabad lived to fight another day in what would be their fifth consecutive top division season in 2011 Pakistan Premier Football League.
The privately owned PMC Athletico has established itself over the years as one of Pakistan’s premier clubs that can stand its ground in front of the well-equipped department sides in Pakistan. Despite many of PMC Athletico’s talent being poached by department sides like WAPDA, PAF, NBP, PIA etc each year, PMC Athletico still has found immense talent from across Faisalabad District to keep fighting to this day.
The 2010 PFF Congress concluded with PMC Athletico qualifying to get right of vote as club in PFF Congress sessions from 2011 onwards as part of PFF’s plan to include well-established PPL clubs to become part of PFF Congress for better decision making, involvement, and professionalism.
In an exclusive interview with FPDC, Life-long PMC Athletico President, Rai Saif ur Rehman Bhatti (a senior lawyer from Faisalabad by profession as well as ex-Pakistan international defender) congratulated the whole management, players, staff, fans, and international directors of the side as they retained Premier League status for 2011. “I would like to congratulate all my friends, colleagues, supporters, and well-wishers in Pakistan and around the world for this success. All of us have stood with PMC Athletico through all good and bad times and have now seen PMC Athletico well and truly established as a national club. Our survival in Pakistan Premier League and our inclusion in PFF Congress with voting rights means the future is bright for this team, for football in Faisalabad, and for football all over Pakistan! Inshallah!”
”]Legendary team captain and ex-international star Haroon Yousaf, so instrumental for PMC’s continued survival despite being more than 37 years old, was overjoyed. He stated that despite the problems faced by the club over the last year or so in terms of squad stability etc, this survival from relegation proves that PMC Athletico has what it takes to make its own mark in Pakistani football, Inshallah. On the hostile crowd expected in Balochistan, Haroon stated that the fans of Chaman, Quetta, Nushki etc are very passionate about the game. As someone who has spent many years playing against and with teams from that part of Pakistan, Haroon stated the crowds will applaud and appreciate good football no matter who plays it, and will voice their disapproval at those who cannot play good football in front of the public. He once again congratulated all the fans, directors, staff, players, and enthusiasts of football for their well wishes and declared that next year, PMC Athletico will challenge the rest of PPL for a top-5 spot inshallah!
FPDC fan and Faisalabad resident Waheed Nagra has a personal connection with PMC Athletico as some of his close friends are players in the side. He admitted he was very tense and anxious about PMC’s last few games and stated that it was an unbelievable miracle that PMC Athletico survived relegation on last day when he was certain that all was lost. Waheed stated that hearing news of PMC Athletico’s win in Chaman shocked and surprised him. Now he hopes that this side will become a solid fixture in coming PPL seasons and challenge the departments to become the premier club in Pakistan.
FPDC staff member and Lahore correspondent Gauhar Mahmood Azeem also expressed joy of the team’s survival and stated “PMC Athletico staying in the premier league for 3 seasons says a lot in terms of Club culture in Pakistan, it shows that if clubs are properly supported they can compete and go toe to toe with the big departments of Pakistan. The PFF needs to help the clubs further, financially and expertise wise, as club football is undisputedly the future of football in Pakistan and the today of world football.”
FPDC senior staffers and PMC’s international directors Malik Riaz Hai Naveed (PMC Athletico manager in 2008), Ali Ahsan (PMC Athletico manager in 2009), and M. Shahnawaz stated their joy and hoped that 2011 will be the year that PMC Club Athletico Faisalabad will truly become a force to be reckoned with as well as becoming a role model for professionalism in Pakistani football. All three offered their congrats to PMC Athletico President Rai Saif ur Rehman Bhatti, team captain Haroon Yousaf, all PMC players and coaching staff, and club directors based around the world.