Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan’s former skipper Mohammad Essa on Thursday praised the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for holding the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship Qualifiers in Lahore.
“It’s a great job by the PFF as it will send a positive message to the world,” Essa told ‘The News’ here on Thursday.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran and Sri Lanka are participating in the Group E qualifiers, apart from hosts Pakistan.
The qualifiers, which started on Wednesday, will last till September 29.
“Keeping in view the situation in Pakistan, it is not easy to bring such events to the country but it was made possible because of the strong relations of the PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat with the top officials of FIFA and the AFC,” said Essa, who is leading Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) in the ongoing Premier League.
He said that international events like this would motivate the youth and they would adopt the sport as their profession. “Football is one of the fast-rising sports disciplines in Pakistan. One can see that footballers associated with departments lead comfortable lives now and I feel that our youth has good days ahead,” Essa hoped.
The qualifiers were originally scheduled to be held in Karachi but were shifted to the Punjab capital after some of the participating units expressed reservations about the security situation.