FOA Secretary Shahid Shinwari, a former footballer for PAF, said that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Fata Association will hold the Peace Cup that will feature Afghanistan, Bangladesh’s Muhammad FC and departmental side PAF on May 7.
“We want to tell the world that the people of Fata and K-P are not terrorists,” Shinwari toldThe Express Tribune. “I’ve been a footballer myself and I love this sport more than anything else, but unfortunately, Fata and K-P have lagged behind. We haven’t had any international tournaments in a long time. With this event we want to send out the message to the world, that people of these regions are educated and want peace.”
Shiwari said that Afghanistan have already confirmed their participation in the tournament, while Muhammad FC are expected to convey their decision till April 25.
“Afghanistan is coming and that is a good sign. We are hoping for confirmation from Muhammad FC as well, but even if they fail to take part, at least football will return to Fata and K-P,” said Shinwari. “We’ll get to showcase our footballers who have immense talent for the sport.”
Meanwhile, Shinwari said that so far there is no football stadium in Fata; therefore the tournament will take place at the Qayyum Sports Complex in Peshawar.
“Lack of facilities is the biggest problem for us. We still don’t have any stadium in Fata, we need to go to Peshawar for that. If we get the same facilities as any departmental team, I promise that we can produce enough players to represent Pakistan in every sport,” said Shinwari.
Agreeing with Shinwari, PAF manager Arshad Khan said that football is among the popular sports in K-P and there is an opportunity for exposure.
“It is an important event for us,” said Khan. “Our team needs international exposure.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2014.