As the news of Pakistan’s team touring UK brings smile to the die hard fans, its important not to get carried away just because they off to the homeland of football. It is a football series which shouldn’t be taken lightly, the games are against your fiercest rivals India who have just beaten you 3-1 in the recent outing, unlike cricket where Pakistan does have better head to head record in football it’s David vs Goliath.
While India will be sending young and ambitious but talented squad, you can bet your bottom dollar that Pakistan will have totally opposite approach where coaches picking players from their departments and clubs. Whereas Indian team oozes with professionalism and talent the Pakistani counterparts are surely there to make up the numbers should the domestic coaches stay in charge.
The trip will serve as preparation for both sides and it is up to Pakistan to make the most of it. India can afford to tour abroad and prepare whereas Pakistan usually fails to prepare and ends up failing at the actual event. It should not let this opportunity get to waste and rather lay foundation for the coming 2011 SAFF Championship in India in December this year after disastrous 7 months under some ridiculous coaching.
India has already taken this series seriously by naming a strong initial squad mixed with youth and experience.
PFF and the coaches should kindly consider picking the team to its strength because there is much more at stake here. Pakistan last toured UK in 2001 and suffered humiliation on and off the pitch when some of its players ran off to seek asylum and the fans still suffer from it till this day. So a squad that can compete on the pitch and show professional attitude off it must be brought because last year’s antics of the cricket team too are quite fresh in the memory. So the coaches should think about the country and its fans before they decide to take a friend or two for a joy ride to the UK.
Success on this tour could prove vital for the development of the game in Pakistan apart from adding another feather in Faisal Saleh Hayat’s cap. It could draw investment, sponsorship and help raise profile of the game that is associated with the poor Pakistani. It could also lead way for more British Asians to take up the sport and the first game being in Ramzan will be able to challenge some cultural stereotypes that exist here.