Out of 213 Football Nations across World, Where does Pakistan stand?
ISLAMABAD - The newly-elected President of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah said on Sunday he had more than enough evidence to prove before FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) that football had been damaged in Pakistan. “We are going to tell them the facts and figures as what has happened with football in Pakistan. I hope they (FIFA) will understand the reality,” he told APP. Ashfaq, who brought to an end Faisal Saleh Hayat’s 15-year reign after winning Wednesday’s PFF elections that took place at the Supreme Court Building said that FIFA had only been given one side of the story. He said that the letter sent to PFF by FIFA, the global game governing body ahead of elections was responded by another body. “Throughout the election period, a negative message has been given to them (FIFA). Now we are waiting for a chance when they call us and we tell them the true picture,” he added. Spelling out his plans, he said he had only one priority and that was to raise the standard of football in Pakistan. “Although football is a general public game, people in our country even don’t know whether it exists here or not. The reason is that during the past several years only politics has been done and no practical step taken to develop it here,” he said. Ashfaq said he wanted to take a fresh start and did not want to discuss the past. “The past is bitter. I don’t want to discuss even that. I believe in one thing, let us make a history and not discuss the history”, he reckoned. He said he wanted to take unique steps to raise standard of football in Pakistan. “The current position is that out of 213 countries we are at number 204 in football. That means practically no football is left in the country and you have to start from the zero.” He said the new body would have to work on several things to bring the actual football on ground. “We’ve to encourage football right from the grassroots level till the top. We’ll go to the school level. We’ll talk to colleges and universities. We’ll have to set up academies to engage people at the tehsil and district levels. People will come up from there and make football popular in Pakistan." “It is not like sitting in the drawing room and talking from there. We’ve to go into the field by all means to find people and bring football on ground in actual sense,” he added. Ashfaq said he was an optimist and believed things could be done provided work was done in the right direction. “I’m also optimistic because the new PFF team is comprised of football lovers. They are the people who have sacrificed their time, money and everything for football. Everyone is enthusiastic and wants to do something for the game. Everyone wants to give a new light and path to football in Pakistan,” he said. He also appealed to the government to provide grounds to the federation for promoting football in the country. “We don’t have sufficient number of grounds. We’ll approach all authorities and request them for the betterment of football.” He thanked Supreme Court of Pakistan for making free and fair PFF elections possible. “Special thanks to media also for highlighting the realities and presenting the facts as they are. We’ll need more help from media because presently people are not paying any attention to football. We’ve to give respect to football and for that we need coverage.