KARACHI: Afghanistan clinched first place as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-14 festival concluded in Islamabad yesterday.
The event, featuring four teams and a total of 18 matches in the span of five days, saw Pakistan take second place, while Tajikistan secured third place.
Pakistan ‘A’, which was included after the withdrawals of Iran, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, ended fourth.
On the last day of the tournament, Pakistan played out a goal-less draw with Tajikistan but defeated Pakistan ‘A’ 4-2 to conclude the event on a high note.
The AFC under-14 festival, which is held to assess talent and nurture the potential of the under-14 players, began on April 5 with a coaching course for officials from Iran, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Our talent is promising but it needs better facilities,” Pakistan under-14 coach Hassan Baloch told The Express Tribune. “The officials from the other countries kept complaining about the pitches, while Afghanistan used over-aged players. But the most positive aspect was that our players got some much-needed exposure. This event was more about encouragement than anything else.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.
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