by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: With Pakistan’s FIFA ranking slumping to a lowly 190 — out of 209 countries — KRL midfielder Mohammad Adil believes football in Pakistan will crumble completely if the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) does not send the team for any international matches.
Adil, who has been a regular for the national team and became the first Pakistani to sign a contract with a foreign club in 2014 when he signed with Kyrgyzstan FC Dordoi, said that Pakistan’s absence from international regional events has made it difficult for top players to play in foreign leagues.
Pakistan played their last international match more than a year ago against Yemen in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in March, 2015.
“It’s embarrassing to be 190th,” said Adil, while speaking to The Express Tribune. “We are stuck in the middle of a crisis at the national federation without any fixtures to look forward to.”
Adil believes that international activity should begin soon or national football will collapse since local tournaments are not recognised.
“We need a quality league,” he said. “The tournaments need to be recognised too, otherwise there is no point of holding them. If the PFF doesn’t fix its matters soon, I’m sure we’ll have to start football from scratch.”
With no football to speak of, domestic or international, players have no chance of convincing foreign clubs of their quality. “When we apply for any foreign club, they want to know what our standard is,” he said. “With Pakistan ranked 190th, I don’t know how we can even apply. I can still show my credentials as an international player but the younger lot have nothing.”
Meanwhile, Rauf Bari, the PFF official working with Lahore High Court-appointed administrator Asad Munir, confirmed that Pakistan will not be competing at any international event this year, which may see them fall further down the rankings.
“So far we can’t do anything as FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation do not recognise our authority, while Hayat is not cooperating with the administrator either,” said Bari. “I don’t think Pakistan would play any international event till the matter is sorted in court.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2016.