PFF chief announces cash award as footballing fraternity hails ‘brilliant’ win

KARACHI: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) president Faisal Saleh Hayat announced a cash award of Rs5 million for the Pakistan team after their 2-0 win against India in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s victory, secured by goals from Dordoi Bishkek duo Kaleemullah and Saddam Hussain, helped them level the two-game series 1-1 after the Greenshirts lost the opener 1-0 on Sunday.

“Pakistan versus India in any form of the game has been a source of great inspiration for both nations,” said Hayat.

“If we analyse the current football series, we can conclude that this is significantly vital because of its impact on the development of football in both countries due to a tradition of competitiveness.”

It was a view echoed by Pakistan’s head of delegation for the Indian tour, Sardar Naveed Haider Khan.

“It has been a fantastic tour for the team,” Sardar Naveed told Dawn from Bangalore after the match.

“We’re extremely thankful to the All-India Football Association (AIFF) and the Karnataka Football Association for the wonderful arrangements they made for the team.”

Sardar Naveed added that the players performed to the best of their abilities on Wednesday.

“We were unlucky to lose [the first game] but the boys played brilliantly despite the defeat on Sunday,” he said.

“Playing on an artificial turf [at the Karnataka Football Association stadium] was difficult for them but they managed to cope well.”

The series was the first between the two countries in almost a decade.

The last time both teams met was in 2005 and Sardar Naveed was optimistic that the wait for another series between the two arch-rivals wouldn’t take that long.

“This series has broken the ice,” he said. “I’ve met with the AIFF officials during the tour and extended an invitation to them to come and play in Pakistan which they received very warmly.”

On the prospects of Pakistan players featuring in the money-spinning Indian Super League, which kicks off in October, Sardar Naveed said that their participation depends upon government clearances.

“There were scouts who watched our players,” he said. “They were very impressed by the likes of Kaleem, Saddam and [goalkeeper] Muzammil Hussain but all of that would depend on whether they receive NOC’s from the government.”

Former Pakistan head-coach Tariq Lutfi also hoped some of the players could be inducted in the inaugural season of the ISL.

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