It’s time to invest in Pakistani football | sports



It's time to invest in Pakistani football

FAfter the government’s initiative to revive sports in the departments, it is a very important stage for all those departments that want to restore their football teams. This time around they will need to adopt the more professional approach in rebuilding their side for future national events whatever may happen in the next few months. If they take a casual approach and stick to the conservative culture of re-establishing their teams, it won’t do any good.

Things have changed now. It is not the era of giving footballers jobs for life but to make them financially strong through season based contracts or yearly deals that have to be worth more to the players and far better than even their regular jobs. But one thing must be taken into account and that is that footballers’ medical insurance must be guaranteed in new contracts.

Certainly administrations will now go for contract-based jobs for their players and no organization will now want to fall into any regular, life-time deal with any player who has no interest in the sport anymore. This is the right time to invest money in the football market and make it more competitive.

We have seen in the past that footballers with regular jobs often feel good about themselves, haven’t worked on improving their physique and often lack a professional approach. When they are given such healthy and money oriented contracts, with some strict clauses built into the structure, I think this will make them fitter and more active as players and they will always be more focused.

This kind of approach will eventually help football in a country that seems very conservative in its approach to the sport. Even departments will have to operate as professional clubs in the future as they will have to transform themselves into clubs in light of the AFC’s club licensing regulations.

Some work on club licensing has already been done in the AFC, but the region needs more focus from the authorities in the coming months so that maximum departmental teams, which have a strong history of football development, can be converted into professional clubs. Some will agree and some will not, but those who don’t will have no space in the system then. Obviously these things are hard to assimilate into Pakistani culture where state owned teams have been the mainstay of the development of the sport but we will need to break free and face the realities of the 21st century.

Some international footballers also want such a system whereby divisional jobs must be on experience-based contracts or annual contracts with big bonuses on offer.

Anything less productive for footballers will be rejected by players who aim to rise high and who are capable of serving the country on the international circuit. It is time for managements to devise such a strategy so that they can help football in the future. The age groups will certainly have to be retained and their own state-of-the-art stadium facility built.

Therefore, I think it is a crucial stage for the divisions to determine their direction. Even some experienced coaches who know modern football also want seasonal and annual contracts for football players as a better option. But as I said earlier, full medical coverage and other necessary shields should be provided to the players along with a decent salary so that the players can just focus on their game. If we develop our system, it will certainly leave a healthy impact on the level of football in the years to come.

The FIFA-appointed Normalization Committee is expected to announce the National Football Challenge Cup in a few days and it will be the first event for departmental teams after the country’s major sport has recently revived.

There is no strong chance for the Premier League this season, and next season all divisions will have to strategize very fresh in the football market and make its structure more viable and players friendlier. This will not be a task that can be done overnight and it takes time and slowly and gradually all departments will automatically be able to transform their staffing system under defined financial mechanism. The results will certainly be very fruitful.

Departments will certainly need legal assistance on various fronts but there is no other way to make the system so productive. We hope to see a better future for football in the country as millions of people depend directly on this highly sought after sport. Hope for the best.

Meanwhile, football in Pakistan is once again gaining momentum. After exposure to the women’s national team through their participation in the AFC Cup in Nepal recently, the men’s team is also set to travel from Lahore to Nepal next month to play two international friendlies scheduled to take place from November 14-21. In a location yet to be determined. The men’s team, after a grueling six weeks of training in the capital of Punjab, is now on vacation and will resume training from November 3 on the tour of Nepal. This will be after three long years as the senior national team will return to the international arena. The last time Pakistan participated in a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia in the summer of 2019 losing their matches in Cambodia and Doha. During the past seven years, football activities have suffered the most due to internal disputes between the various factions and the litigation process. Now NC is on its way to a PFF election. Currently, it is working on club registration and to date more than 4,000 clubs have been registered through FIFA Connect.

In the next step, the examination of the clubs will begin and we will see competitions at the district level in order to assess the situation of the clubs on the ground. North Carolina plans to finalize the electoral roll for the district elections by January 15th. I hope things are going in the right direction.

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