by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI : Former Pakistan football team captain Kaleemullah has asked the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to explain its claims after calling him ‘a traitor’ for playing in the Turkish league.
The 25-year-old received a notice this month by the PFF where the federation told him that he violated the code of conduct by voicing his opinion about the lack of facilities in Pakistan and that, under the leadership of PFF president Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, football in the country has not grown as it was supposed to.
“In your [PFF’s] letter, you have explicitly mentioned that I violated Articles 2g and 2n of the PFF Code of Conduct. I would first of all kindly ask you to provide me with a copy of that document. I would also ask you why it wasn’t given to me during all the years when I was representing Pakistan,” Kaleemullah’s letter said.
The PFF had said in their letter to Kaleemullah that he was not supporting the national team during the South Asian Football Federation (Saff) Championship and that he should reply by September 29 or else the matter will go to the PFF Disciplinary and Ethics Committee, which is also a rather mysterious entity as no one knows who are the members of it, while Fifa in 2015 had pointed out that they are not independent bodies within the federation.
“PFF vice-president Sardar Naveed Haider on social media called me a traitor and threatened to hang me. General Secretary PFF, Colonel Lodhi, I sent you the video and tweet but I did not get a response from you or any senior official from PFF. The PFF is answerable to me for this unprofessional and absurd misconduct and I want an explanation by October 5, 2018,” Kaleemullah added.
Proving PFF wrong through performance
Kaleemullah was ignored by the federation for both the Asian Games, where the team could have three over-aged players and then Saff Championship, and the PFF said at the time that it was due to Kaleemullah not being fit.
However, the Chaman-born striker signed his contract in Turkey and now plays for IgdirSpor.
In his first match he scored a goal and also assisted for the other.
“It is a great feeling to score again,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune. “I have been waiting for this. I can only prove my worth by performing to the best of my ability. I’m happy with Igdirspor, it is a lower-tier league in Turkey but it is a step in the right direction, a doorway to playing in Europe one day too. I feel I am opening these doors for other Pakistanis as well.”
Kaleemullah was also the first player to sign for the US Major League where he played two seasons with Sacramento Republic and Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
But his achievements were easily forgotten by Hayat, and in his latest press conference, he picked on the fact that Kaleemullah is playing in a lower-tiered team in Turkey.
“I’m the same, I wasn’t playing in the first-tier teams abroad earlier either, but they would take credit for my success, now I’m a bad seed,” said Kaleemullah with disappointment.