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October 11, 2018

Pak-Palestine match likely on FIFA day


October 11, 2018

KARACHI: A commitment to play an international friendly on FIFA day next month is expected to be made between Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Palestine Football Association (PFA), a well-placed source in the PFF told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“The PFF has invited Palestine and both nations are expected to play an international friendly on November 15 in Pakistan,” the source said.The source further said that Palestine, which are currently in Bangladesh, will travel to China after playing the expected game against Pakistan senior side at the latter’s backyard. “Palestine are also scheduled to face China on November 20,” the source said. Palestine will also play a friendly against Bahrain on October 16.

However PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi did not confirm it. “We have written to several nations but we have received no confirmation from any one,” Lodhi told this correspondent on Wednesday.

Pakistan is ahead a testing next year as the country will have to show its mettle in the World Cup qualifiers and Olympic qualifiers besides featuring in the South Asian Games.

Following over three-year of inactivity due to legal issues Pakistan only recently resumed its international journey with its participation in the back-to-back events including the Asian Games in Indonesia in August-September and the SAFF Championship in Dhaka in September. The national team, which also had foreign-based stuff, also visited Bahrain for playing a few practice matches ahead of these two assignments.

“After a three-year of inactivity finally we have come to know where we stand by playing our side in Asian Games and SAFF Cup,” the PFF source said. “Now the federation is trying to provide maximum exposure to the boys in order to build a strong side for the future commitments,” the source added. Pakistan finished third, the very second time since 1997, in the SAFF Cup in Dhaka.

Hiring a Brazilian coach Joe Antonio Nogueira, Brazilian trainer Jose Portella and keeping with them former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa in support staff turned out to be better decision as the team played some positive football in the twin events. Nogueira, after witnessing few matches of the ongoing Premier League in Multan, has left for his hometown Sao Paulo and sources said he would return to Lahore to resume witnessing the Premier League second phase which will begin in Lahore in the next few days.

Portella, on the other hand, has been engaged with the Pakistan’s Under-15 team as head coach. The team, undergoing training at the City School in Lahore, will feature in the SAFF Under-15 Championship to be held in Kathmandu from October 25 to November 3. Portella is a Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) License A coach.The Under-15 side, which is yet to announce, will travel to Nepal on October 20. The event was previously Under-16 whose inaugural edition had been won by Pakistan in 2011.

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