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December 8, 2018

Pak-India clash to set the ball rolling


December 8, 2018

RAWALPINDI: The Asian Futsal Championship is set for a grand opening with a blockbuster clash between hosts Pakistan and India.

This was announced by Shahid Farooq Malik, senior vice president of the Pakistan Soccer Futsal Federation (PSFF), while talking to ‘The News’.

The Asian Futsal Championship is set to be held at the Liaquat Gymnasium of the Pakistan Sports Complex from December 13-16.

Malik said his federation was ready to host seven teams for the four-day tournament. The participating teams include India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“We are really excited about this event,” he said. “Besides producing a high standard of futsal, the tournament will also promote a soft image of the country. It will show the world that Pakistan is a secure place to play sport.”

Malik said the visiting teams would be provided top security. “We organised a successful event in February that included Brazil, Nepal and Turkey. That event proved very beneficial for us as it showed to other countries that we have the capability to host big tournaments,” he said.

The teams will start reaching the federal capital on December 11 and will be lodged at the Pakistan Sports Complex during their stay.

“The Indian and Nepalese teams will be reaching Pakistan by road,” the PSFF official said.

Malik said the four days of the championship will hold an added attraction for the fans.

“There will be musical events on all match days,” he said. “We are doing this with an aim to promote futsal among the general public. Futsal is very popular among university students and we want it to grow further.”

The national team for the event will be named soon and Malik seemed to be really happy with the potential the national players have.

“We have a bunch of very talented players and I am hopeful they will perform well in the championship. You will be pleased to know that the national team has representation from all the provinces.”

He added that the team was selected after watching the players’ performance in the National Futsal Championship. The federation president said that open trials were also conducted to give a chance to everyone to represent Pakistan.

The Asian Futsal Championship matches will be supervised by a referee from Spain.

“The federation is also arranging a workshop for local referees that will be conducted by the Spanish official,” Malik added.

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