Sad state of affairs: Footballers must not lose hope, says Saddam

Former midfielder wants players to keep training and look for opportunities abroad

Our Correspondent April 17, 2016

KARACHI: Football players in Pakistan must do everything to maintain their fitness levels and continue their efforts to improve their game despite the current crisis engulfing the sport, says former national player Saddam Hussain.

Hussain, who trains every day, feels national players can only survive if they maintain a positive attitude and strive to get opportunities to play abroad even though the Pakistan Football Federation, which is involved in a bitter power struggle, is neither holding any local leagues or competitions, nor competing in international events.

“It is up to the players now to stay positive,” the 23-year-old told The Express Tribune. “We are ranked 190th in the world. I know the PFF is not doing anything but we must not lose hope. If we do not stay positive, we might make things even worse.”

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Hussain further added that the only way to stay positive is to train every day and hope for the best.

The former FC Dordoi midfielder had also played in Bahrain last year and feels that Pakistan should follow China’s example, where the government is heavily involved in establishing football academies across the countries.

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“In Pakistan no one is sincere; there is no vision. The Chinese Football Association is aiming to establish 20,000 training facilities across the country. That is what they are doing while we are involved in who gets to sit on the helm of the PFF. We only have one academy,” he lamented.

He further added: “As a Pakistani I feel bad when my colleagues from countries like Morocco, Egypt or even Ghana ask me about our standards. I just keep reading and listening to success stories of other countries. It just makes me sad.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.

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