KARACHI: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Youth under-14 Festival starts in Islamabad today where seven countries and two coaches from each team also undergoing training.
Pakistan will host the event for the second time where teams include Afghanistan, Iran,Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“We’ll groom coaches who will build strong youth teams,” Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told The Express Tribune.
Lodhi added that although the national team was not doing well, the federation was busy working towards producing and grooming young players. The PFF has also renewed its Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) with the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) that has granted Rs1.5 million to promote the sport as well as increasing the number of female players.
This year’s programme, according to the PFF, will be to form eight girls’ teams in Karachi and eight boys’ teams in Faisalabad.
“Last year we got Rs1.6 million for two projects,” said PFF project manager Shahid Khokar. “One was for Lyari, where we featured 16 teams. We held a tournament there and chose players for the national under-14 side. The second phase was in Gilgit where we worked with eight schools. Initially, we trained the teachers who made their school teams and had a 10-day championship.”
Khokar said that the Australian High Commission was happy with the two projects which was why it decided to renew the programme this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.
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