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January 27, 2016

Football activity resumes as PFF Cup begins tomorrow


January 27, 2016


KARACHI: After nine months of lay-off due to infighting of the two groups of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), the national footballers will be seen in action when the qualifiers of the PFF Cup 2016 begin here on Thursday (tomorrow).

In Group I, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) will face Social Welfare Society Trust (SWT) here at KPT’s Benazir Sports Complex at 3pm.

In another game of the group, Ashraf Sugar Mills and Pakistan Steel will lock horns here at KMC Stadium, also at 3 pm.

The 16 outfits have been bracketed in four groups. Matches of Group I and Group II will be held here, the Group III slots in Lahore and Group IV matches in Islamabad.

Group I carries SSGC, ASM, Pakistan Steel and SWT. Group II has Gawadar Port Authority (GPA), Sindh Government Press (SGP), Police and Karachi United (KU).

Group III comprise Railways, Saif Textile, Falcon Company and Insaf Afghan Goods Trading Company (IAGTC).

Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan Television, Bhatti United and Hazara Coal Company (HCC) have been placed in Group IV.

Two teams from each group will move into the final round which will be conducted in Lahore from February 9.

The National Challenge Cup teams, including holders Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), Army, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), WAPDA, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Navy will directly play the main round.

These 16 teams in the main round will be placed in four groups of four teams each. Two teams from each group will make it to the quarter-finals.

The dates of the knock-out stage have not yet been decided.

The Premier League champions K-Electric skipped the event because of their preparation for the AFC Cup play-off against Bahrain’s Al-Hidd, which will be held on February 9 in Bahrain.

Former Pakistan captain Ali Nawaz Baloch and Abdul Shakoor will serve as match commissioners in Karachi.

The organisers said that as many as 16 local referees would serve in Karachi games.

A sum of Rs750,000 will be handed over to the top teams and players as cash prizes.

The winners will get Rs300,000, the runners-up Rs200,000, and the bronze medalists Rs100,000.

The fair-play trophy winners will get richer by Rs50,000. The leading scorer, the best player and the best goalkeeper will get Rs25,000 each.

The best referee will get Rs15,000, while the best assistant referee will receive Rs10,000.

Ali Bahar, chairman organising committee, on Tuesday unveiled these details at a press briefing here at a local hotel. He was flanked by a senior football official and social worker Nasir Karim and event coordinator Riaz Ahmed.

The organisers made it clear that it was not an event of a particular group but an affair being conducted by the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) administrator Justice (retd) Asad Muneer.

Asad was appointed as the administrator by Lahore High Court (LHC) after it declared the June 30, 2015, elections of Faisal Saleh Hayat-led PFF null and void.

“If any one tried to sabotage the event he or she will violate the court’s orders,” an organiser told ‘The News’ after the press briefing.

The LHC has reserved judgments in various cases.

FIFA, the world football governing body, has endorsed the PFF’s June 30, 2015, elections as legal.

The world body has also decided to give two years to Faisal-led PFF during which it will have to revise the constitution and hold fresh elections.

Because of the tussle between two groups, no Premier League could be held this season. The country also failed to feature in quite a few international events, including the SAFF Cup and the forthcoming South Asian Games in India.