Essa, part of the Pakistan team that played against India in 2005, said that having another friendly series this August was a positive sign for football in the region.
Earlier this week, both the Pakistan and Indian football federations stated that the two sides would play two friendly matches on August 17 and August 20 in Bangalore.
The purpose of the friendly matches is to give exposure to the national side before the Asian Games in September.
According to the former captain, the series could be used as a tool to not only pull the crowd but also to attract more sponsors to the game.
“It’s beneficial in every way,” Essa told The Express Tribune. “I still remember in 2005, we were playing against India in Quetta and we had a crowd of 100,000. People were lined up outside the stadium as well. So there is a market for these matches.
“We should play India every year because it will generate public interest in both countries. The emotion and spirit on both sides will prove this series a success.”
Essa also pointed out that Pakistan could win their matches against India. He said that in the South Asian Football Federation Championship last year, Pakistan only lost 1-0 to their archrivals due to an own goal.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.