by Nabeel Hashmi, [THE NEWS]
KARACHI: Pak Elektron Limited (PEL) is facing a possible ouster from Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and could end up being banned from Division ‘B’ too, it was learnt by ‘The News’ on Thursday 17 November 2011.
PEL were not able to appear in their match against KRL at the Municipal Stadium in Rawalpindi and KRL were awarded the walkover.
This correspondent has learnt that security issue is the main reason why they did not appear because the authorities have failed to provide security to their players.
Seventy percent of PEL’s team are ‘Hazaras’ and since their home ground is in Quetta playing there is a big risk as they are being targeted by terrorists in the Balochistan capital.
“PEL has written to Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and has described that their players have faced life threats that’s why they won’t be able to appear in their matches,” a top PFF official told ‘The News’.
“It is the responsibility of departments to provide security not the responsibility of PFF so we take it as a failure on the part of PEL. Their further matches in the event will be counted as walk-overs. We are preparing a case against them and would forward it to our disciplinary committee. It’s the discretion of the committee to decide their fate. However, we would recommend them to ban PEL from Division B as well.”
When asked whether two teams other then PEL be relegated, the official replied that there is a window for two teams to be relegated and no matter for whatever reasons a team has been disqualified or banned from division B, they will be counted as relegation candidates.
He added one more team other then PEL will go down because the team which will end up in bottom third would feel betrayed as the league was played with the spirit that two teams at the bottom will go down.
Meanwhile, when PEL coach was contacted, he said that they cannot replace seventy percent of players on emergency basis.
“The tragedy with us is that most of our team is formed by players from Hazara community and 13 players of our team had already migrated to Europe because of security concerns,” Asghar Anjum told ‘The News’.
“The families of the players were concerned for their kids’ lives and thus have sent them abroad. Most of them have moved out to Czech Republic through Iran while others who are left are in a state of shock.”
He revealed that they were facing transportation problem as well as people were not willing to even allow the players of Hazara to board public buses.
PEL’s coach added that he even tried to arrange air-travel for his side but that did not work as well.
“At the end of the day the responsibility falls on my shoulders that I picked up players from one region but my intention was clean and I never knew that circumstances will get out of control,” he added.
“I have not been able to sleep because of all this and it’s really disheartening because I gave my all to build this side.”
Meanwhile he said that they plan to fight in Division B but their future is not clear since it is up to the owners that whether they are willing to invest again to rebuild the team.
He added that it is sheer disappointment for owners as well as not a single match of PEL was televised after hefty investment.
In other matches of PPFL, WAPDA thrashed Police 3-1 at the Railway football stadium in Lahore while Army-HBL tie ended in a stalemate. WAPDA had returning skipper Arif Mehmood to thank for a well-struck hat-trick that over came a struggling Police team, who scored one from Badshah Gul at Railways Stadium in Garhi Shahue, Lahore.
Though Pakistan Army and HBL played good game but either side failed to score and match ended in a goalless draw at Municipal Stadium, Rawalpindi.
Despite having the services of some star players Army team remained unable to break the determined Habib Bank Limited (HBL) defence which stood like a solid rock in front of Army forwards. First half ended 0-0.
In the second half, HBL changed their strategy and created some delightful moves but bankers failed to score due to poor finishing.
Army could have scored twice in the dying moments of the match but could not convert their chances in to goal and when the referee blew the final whistle the match ended in 0-0 draw.