KARACHI: Denmark-born Pakistani striker Hassan Bashir is dismayed by the treatment meted out to football in Pakistan for the last one and a half years and says it is “scandalous”.
Hassan told ‘The News’ in an interview from Denmark that the players were the real victims. “I think it’s a huge, huge loss for them as they have not played the game since April last year,” he said.
“The 16 to 18 months barren patch has destroyed the players’ future. And particularly the development of the young players has been stopped which is catastrophic,” said the striker who played 15 matches for Pakistan.
“You know Pakistan had some talented players like Adil, Kaleem and Saddam. All were playing in foreign leagues. Now Kaleem is the only one who is playing in America while the careers of others have stopped,” the player said.
“Personally I am very disappointed and unhappy with the situation. I love Pakistan. When I was 24 I was thinking about leaving football because of fitness issues but Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi called me. It was a real inspiration for me when I started playing for my own country,” he recalled.
“I also served Pakistan as skipper and it was a big, big achievement,” he said.
“I am very thankful to Pakistan. Now I am 29 and will be able to play for two to three more years. It will be great if Pakistan’s football starts again,” Hassan said.
He termed those who caused football crisis “the villains”.
Hassan called for a change in the PFF set-up.
“I think the current PFF set-up has failed to deliver. New people should be brought who know how to run the game effectively,” he said.
About FIFA’s decision it made about the crisis last year Hassan said he did not think it worked. “The decision was taken in October last year and again October is near and FIFA should know what has happened. I think FIFA took the decision and then did not follow what happened. May be it thinks Pakistan is not a big football nation,” the player added.
FIFA last year in August sent a fact-finding mission to Pakistan which probed the matter by interviewing both factions of PFF. FIFA Executive Committee decided in October that Faisal-led PFF would be given two years to revise its constitution and hold elections afresh. But because several cases are in courts, nothing has happened in that direction.
Lahore High Court (LHC) has constituted a committee which will hold Punjab Football Association (PFA) and PFF elections within three months.
However the result of the elections will be subject to the decision of the double bench which is hearing cases relating to the issue.
Because of this infighting the Premier League could not be held last year.
Depressed by the crisis some senior players have planned to form a “players association” for quick resolution of the issue.
Hassan said it was the right thing to do. “It’s good thinking. In Denmark too it’s effective. Although the association will take time to emerge as a strong force it’s a good decision,” the mercurial striker said.