PFF Cup to finally kick off on Thursday

Tournament to end year-long national football drought in the country

Natasha Raheel January 27, 2016

KARACHI: International midfielder Saadullah is aiming for a successful Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Cup campaign with his team SSGC as the tournament’s first phase — pitting Division B League teams against each other — gets under way on Thursday at the KPT Ground.

The PFF Cup will be the first formal tournament after almost a year for the local footballers, who missed out on the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and Division B League due to the ongoing tussle among the federation’s officials.

Saadullah believes any footballing activity will benefit him and other departmental teams alike at the current stage.

PFF Cup expected to be delayed

“The cancellation of the official leagues last year was frustrating as they form our national football structure,” the Pishin-based midfielder told The Express Tribune. “But hopefully, things are changing for the good now.”

Saadullah’s team is slotted in Group I with Social Welfare Trust, Ashraf Sugar Mills and Pakistan Steel Mills.

The top two teams from each group will then compete against PPFL sides in the second phase, which is scheduled to begin from February 9.

Local politics pushes football off the field

PFF Cup director Rauf Bari said the tournament will help the players save their departmental jobs.

“HBL disbanded their football team and the same can happen in other departments too,” said Bari. “The players may lose their jobs in the absence of a national tournament and the PFF Cup can prevent that from happening, as it will compel departments to retain their players instead of considering them a liability or a burden.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th,  2016.

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