KARACHI: Pakistan crashed out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup 2014 qualifiers after a narrow defeat to hosts Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in their crucial Group B match in Bishkek yesterday.
The result left the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in a fix after it used up most of its budget over preparatory tours to Nepal, Maldives and Dubai to ensure a good performance by the team in the event.
Pakistan needed to finish among the top two teams in the four-team group and required two wins in three games. However, a 1-0 loss to Tajikistan in their opening match and the defeat yesterday meant the team will only get to play a consolation match.
While Pakistan conceded the lone goal against Tajikistan in the 89th minute, they put up a poor show in the match against the hosts where they failed to find the equaliser after David Bruce Tetteh scored in the opening minute of the match.
“It’s humiliating,” PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar khan Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “I’m disappointed that they couldn’t even equalise a first-minute goal against the hosts, who are ranked 202nd in the world. We’re a better team than that.”
The result meant Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have qualified along with India, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Laos, Palestine, Bangladesh and Maldives.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.