Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has planned to introduce the futsal and beach football national championships in the latter half of the year by incorporating the new five-a-side format, according to PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi.
Local clubs and departmental teams have also expressed enthusiasm for the idea.
The championships will be a new addition in the PFF’s calendar; however, local clubs like Karachi United FC have already been holding futsal championships on a regular basis.
“We’ll hold the national championships for the shorter format,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “So far, we are sure the plan will go forward. It will, however, take some time as the departments will need teams. We haven’t set a date yet but it will take place in the second half of the year.
“We’ll also hold the beach football event because it’s played on a similar field as futsal in a five-a-side format. Both championships will be a good addition. Even Afghanistan holds such tournaments on the beach, so we thought introducing it here would be a good idea.
“However, we’ll have to see the availability of the teams.”
Meanwhile, PAF team manager Arshad Khan lauded the plan.
According to him, introducing this format to players on a larger scale will help promote the sport in Pakistan.
“It’s a positive step by the federation,” said Arshad. “I’m very excited and when I told my players about it, they responded well too. We’ll be fielding six of our top players in the national futsal championship.”
The manager further stated that the national futsal championship will bring opportunities for new players as well.
“Departments may start to hire new players especially for the futsal teams. It’s a good sign. The basics are the same for futsal and we’ll only need to train our regular players on technicalities of the shorter format,” concluded Arshad.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2014.