by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: While the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) is in full-swing in Multan, it is taking place without country’s most successful domestic team, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
PIA have previously won the national championship nine times and have been a major football department which produced national footballers in the past. However, they were unable to participate in the current season of the PPFL, and it is not pleasant for the players in anyway.
The PPFL this time took place after a gap of three years as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had been caught up in their in-fighting among the officials to keep the offices.
It was mainly to have its president Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh hayat in the office, for the fourth term in 2015, when the controversy broke out.
Hayat held the sport hostage as the drama among the officials took centre stage instead of the sport.
Subsequently, national players had to suffer as they did not see any domestic or international action.
The PPFL this year started on September 25, and PIA was not sent as the team.
However, that can change as their GM Sports Rashid Zafar told The Express Tribune that he will be trying to send the team.
“We will send the team, I’ve spoken to [Ahmed Yar Khan] Lodhi,” Zafar told The Express Tribune, however he referred to their spokesperson Mashood Tajwar to comment further on why the team could not go earlier.
On the other hand, the PFF secretary Lodhi was unavailable to comment on the matter and did not respond when The Express Tribune contacted him, similarly the PFF media cell manager was also not responding when called for confirmation.
But it will be a setback for the players if they do not get to play the league and the fans are missing them in action.
If PIA do not participate this time they will be relegated to Division B league, without even playing, and that alone is unfair to the players.
In the last PPFL season, which took place in 2014/2015, they finished fourth out of 12 teams in the competition.
The winner of the PPFL proceeds to play Asian Cup qualifying rounds.