KARACHI: Former national captain Essa Khan believes that Pakistan can win the 2015 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U16 Championship commencing from August 7 in Bangladesh.
Essa, who was a part of the coaching team in the Technical Study Group (TSD) that monitored the recently concluded National U16 Championship in Multan, said that the federation should be focusing on the junior players this year.
The veteran footballer said that the TSD picked 32 talented boys from the national championship. “Hardly any time remains until the commencement of the SAFF Championship,” Essa told The Express Tribune. “But we are hoping that the federation will soon arrange a camp.”
Essa said that the selected players have the talent to repeat their 2011 SAFF Championship performance, where they defeated India 2-1.
However, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Faisal Saleh Hayat said that it will be a challenge for them to hold the U16 camp without funds.
The PFF has been under fire ever since a parallel body led by Arshad Lodhi and Farasat Ali Shah emerged last month in hopes of ousting Hayat from the federation’s presidency over allegations of funds embezzlement.
“This situation is only destroying our plans for youth football,” said Hayat. “But we’ll try to arrange the money for the camp in time.”
PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said that their accounts have been frozen by the Punjab government.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.
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