KARACHI: For the second successive occasion, Pakistani footballers will miss the South Asian Games as the country’s entry was not confirmed by the organisers of the biennial spectacle despite hectic effort from the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Thursday night.
Pakistan were denied entry because draws had already been taken out. Pakistan had sent by name entry on Thursday (November 28) which was too late.
The POA had asked the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for important details of the team on November 25. This correspondent learnt that India were also denied entry as they had sent their by name entry on Wednesday to the organisers.
A two-member delegation of the POA on Thursday night held an emergency meeting with the president of Nepal Olympic Committee and requested him for football entry of Pakistan by briefing him about the problems which the country had been facing due to a conflict between the two groups that forced FIFA to appoint Normalisation Committee recently.
According to sources, Nepal Olympic Committee chief told the POA officials that as they denied entry to India for the same delay it was not possible for them to allow Pakistan’s entry.
Initially a six-nation event draws, in which India were included, had been held. After India were denied entry the event was reduced to a five-nation contest which will now be held on a single league basis from December 2.
Pakistan had also missed the 2016 South Asian Games football event because of the conflict between two factions. Normalisation Committee, which has been appointed by FIFA for Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), had called 48 players for trials on November 26 in Islamabad.
After holding a couple of practice matches, an 18-member squad, including three senior players, was finalised along with two officials. And the same squad was sent to organisers by the NOC on Thursday.
A key member of NC was not aware of the denial of Pakistan’s entry in the vital assignment when this corespondent contacted him. “I don’t know about the situation,” the member said.
The NC has been tasked by FIFA to run day-to-day affairs of Pakistan football besides holding elections at the district, provincial and PFF level within nine months.
This correspondent also learnt through football team sources that some solid players also failed to get NOCs from their parent departments for the Nepal tour.