By Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is planning on awarding central contracts to the under-16 team that defeated India in the South Asian Football Federation Championship final.
According to the PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi, the federation will give the 22 players contracts that run till 2013.
“We’re focusing on the youth,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “We want these 22 boys to represent the country in the under-19 World Cup and that’s why we want to groom them. We’ll increase their monthly stipend and that will bind them to stay with the PFF under our Youth Development Programme.”
According to the under-16 team coach Sajjad Mehmood, the federation is planning to double the monthly salary of these players. He confirmed that the PFF was in the process of signing them for at least two more years.
“It might seem that giving Rs 6,000 a month to the players isn’t enough,” said Mehmood. “But it’s a promising change. We’ve been told that these players will get a salary, which will increase with the passage of time.
“This is a very professional approach. For the first time they’re grooming a team. They’re introducing a process which will guarantee good results,” added Mehmood.
The squad is currently preparing for the under-16 Asian Football Confederation Championship qualifiers that take place in Kuwait from September 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.