KARACHI: Punjab Football Association (PFA) former president Naveed Haider on Wednesday categorically stated that he will go to any length to fight for the rights of the Punjab’s women footballers who were deprived of a golden opportunity to represent their province in the recently held 12th National Women Football Championship.
“I will go to any length to safeguard the rights of Punjab’s deserving women footballers who were not given chance in the National Football Championship recently,” Naveed told ‘The News’ in a formal chat.
Naveed, also a former Director Marketing of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), said almost all of the players who were part of the Punjab team belonged to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Naveed pointed out that Lahore-based Royal Eagles Women FC’s owner Azeem had been appointed as trainer of Punjab team for the national event.
“And his players, hailing from Gilgit, were fraudulently included in the Punjab team. These players are also now in the national camp,” Naveed was quick to add.
He reiterated that Azeem was the person who, along with his other team officials, had attacked referee after losing a game during the 2018 National Women Football Championship in Lahore.
He strongly lashed at out the Normalization Committee of the PFF, saying, it denied the genuine Punjab girls of their due right to represent their province.
In the 12th National Women Football Championship held recently here, Punjab finished fourth following a huge loss at the hands of WAPDA in the third place play-off.
He said that he had taken both the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA on board, adding, he will soon meet the Punjab Chief Minister.
“It’s a lot of atrocities against the Punjab players. By doing so, Gilgit-Baltistan team was also weakened and its cause was damaged,” said Naveed, also a strong associate of the PTI MNA Amir Dogar who is aiming to contest the PFF elections.
When Naveed was the PFA president in 2018, Punjab finished with a bronze medal and also got fair-play trophy in the 11th National Women Football Championship.
He also termed the step taken by the NC to send national men’s football team to Malaysia for a week-long tour ludicrous.
“It’s really ludicrous. How NC can spend a huge amount on such worthless tour during which national team, in which some top players were ignored, played against clubs. There was no need for such a tour and the NC should be asked why it’s wasting the PFF money,” Naveed said.
“If you don’t have any international event how can you afford such tours. It was in fact a joy-ride as several people of the NC secretariat and some from provinces also accompanied the squad,” he said.
“NC should be made accountable for every penny it is spending. It should stick to its main objective of holding the PFF elections. Despite working for the last four months the committee has done nothing towards holding club scrutiny which will pave way for subsequent elections at the district, provincial and PFF levels,” Naveed conceded.