By Shahrukh Sohail, Senior Correspondent, Islamabad
FootballPakistan.com (FPDC) attempts to convince Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero and former Manchester United captain Roy Keane to play in Pakistan ended in stalemate, as the duo refused to star in the upcoming inter-city League, albeit owing to completely different reasons.
Del Piero, who is currently plying his trade in Australia with Sydney FC, was open to the prospect of travelling to Pakistan and give the local football scene a try, provided that he received reasonable compensation and fool proof security measures.
However, the striker was unable to convince his current club to let him leave during April and May, and thus eventually opted against joining one of the six teams taking part in the Inter-city league.
Roy Keane, on the other, expressed security concerns in Pakistan and also cited his desire to see more English or Irish players if he were to make the trip. But with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) already operating on a tight financial budget, accommodating a host of top players from Europe would have been impossible.
While the arrival of football’s true legends would have been a spectacular coup for Pakistani football, in the end it was not to be. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Keane and Del Piero were open to the possibility of playing here and that alone speaks volumes about our football potential, which if tapped could easily help the National Team become one of the strongest sides in the region.