KARACHI: The two-match series between Pakistan and Palestine that will be played in Lahore this February will help the hosts against Malaysia in the Asian Olympic qualifiers, according to the under-23 coach Akhtar Mohiuddin. The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has agreed to host Palestine for a series that will start on February 27 in Lahore and will fall between two Olympic qualifying matches.
The first qualifying match against Malaysia takes place in February in Kuala Lumpur before the second match in March in Lahore.
Mohiuddin said that the PFF’s decision will prove beneficial for the team as they desperately needs exposure. “Its good news for the team because we lack in confidence,” Mohiuddin told The Express Tribune. “So playing against an international side will be beneficial for our inexperienced team.
“Palestinians enjoy the game as much as Pakistanis. It’s about passion and I believe that this will be translated on the field.
“The series against Palestine will be good match practice before Pakistan face Malaysia for the Olympic qualifiers.”
Meanwhile, according to the PFF Secretary Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi, the federation has organised the bilateral series in such a way that foreign teams’ visit to Pakistan is not disrupted as well as the team’s tour to Palestine in travelling in April or May for two more matches. “It’s an initiative taken by the Palestinian Football Association and we couldn’t say no,” said Lodhi. “Pakistanis have this emotional attachment with the Palestinian cause, and if the team comes to Pakistan we are expecting big crowds.”
He also said that if the series gets a good response, the PFF may also organise a women’s football tournament between Pakistan and Palestine.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2010.