Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee Chairman Humza Khan and National Technical Director Daniel Limones held a meeting with the managers and coaches of the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) and Pakistan Football Federation League teams earlier this week.
In the extensive meeting, Mr. Humza explained the ongoing challenges being faced by the PFF NC, especially in the context of resuming football activities in the country.
Mr. Humza explained that while the main mandate was and remains conducting elections, he had prioritised galvanising the playing side of the sport as evidenced by the organising of the National Women’s Football Championship 2019-2020, the ongoing PFFL ‘B’ Division, participation in the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers, the men’s national team tour to Malaysia and various coaching courses including the recently-concluded PFF ‘C’ License Coaching Course conducted by the Technical Director himself.
Mr. Humza also explained the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the planned activity calendar and the rationale of bringing in Mr. Limones as Technical Director.
In his extensive presentation, Mr. Limones outlined the existing problems and a vision to address them. Mr. Limones reminded the teams’ officials of the impact of the loss of four years of football including that on the national teams’ rankings and exposure (men’s team having slipped to 200 and women’s to 127 and not even featuring in the FIFA/AFC system due to having not played a competitive fixture in six years).
Mr. Limones highlighted that while Pakistan had abundant talent, clear steps needed to be taken to revamp the domestic structure also bearing in mind that PFF had to implement AFC Club Licensing Regulations while adapting them to the local context.
Mr. Limones also explained that PFF was endeavouring to set up friendly matches in the FIFA Windows but travel restrictions due to the pandemic situation were big challenges. Mr. Limones however advised that PFF would shortly hold training camps for both men’s and women’s national teams.
As for domestic competitions, Mr. Limones advised that the entire calendar had been impacted by COVID-19, however, the PFFL ‘B’ Division had been restarted and was expected to conclude in October. Thereafter the tentative activity calendar for the season (subject to COVID-19 and other factors) would be as follows :
- National Challenge Cup (tentatively November to December 2020)
- National Women’s Championship (tentatively December 2020 to January 2021);
- Pakistan Premier League (tentatively from January 2021).
Mr. Limones also confirmed AFC’s confirmation of Pakistan’s U-20 and U-17 women’s teams in addition to U-23 men’s team in upcoming AFC events.
The National Technical Director also stated that PFF were actively looking to start a National Women’s League in the new year.
The managers/coaches generally recorded their support and appreciation for PFF’s efforts and recognised the challenges. Senior coaches such as Tariq Lutfi and Siddique Sheikh fully supported the plan to implement club licensing.
Some coaches including Hasan Baloch of K-Electric raised concerns regarding the impact of sporadic competition prior to the NC taking charge and the impact of the same on teams. Since then, it appears that the KE team has been closed down and the PFF Chairman has sought to take this up with the KE management.