Yeah finally!! some good news from the Pakistan football camp. Our boys just triumphed in the under-16 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship finals.
The final, played on the 10th of August in Kathmandu, Nepal saw Pakistan face off with arch rivals India, whom they beat 2-1.
“OK! So what’s the big deal” you say? Come on people! I know it’s just a South Asian Championship but hey, we have to start somewhere, right? This just goes to shows that we have talent and all we need to do is pay attention to our team, groom them and show them the right direction.
There wasn’t as much hype around this match as there would have been if the Pakistani & Indian cricket or hockey teams were playing against each other. I don’t believe that many people even knew that the tournament (let alone the match) was underway.
BUT, both sides were eager to make a real impression on the field – and they did.
Another feather in the Pakistani team’s cap was that they reached the final undefeated. Yup! You read me right. And, they had already beaten India 1-NIL in the group stages. (ok! so I get a bit excited when Pakistan beats India….even if it is in gulli-danda :p)
The coach Mr. Sajjad Mehmood went into the match saying that the earlier win over India, in Maldives, gave them an edge over their rivals before the final. He was quoted as saying “There is no pressure. In fact, we’ll go as favorites considering our earlier show in the tournament. Hopefully, we’ll lift the title.”
Thankfully he was not proven wrong.
Sajjad rates this victory as a huge accomplishment for the country and said “It’s a big win and very good news for the country’s football”. He added “All the credit goes to the young boys who played really well and executed the game plan to perfection. We wanted to attack right from the start and we managed to do it. To beat India twice in the same competition is a fantastic achievement.”
Pakistan had earlier met Bangladesh in the semi finals whom they clobbered 2-NIL. India meanwhile came to the final beating Nepal on penalty kicks.
It’s not only the under 16 team coach who is excited over the victory, the victory was also noticed and hailed by the senior team coach Mr. Tariq Lutfi. He termed the win as a huge breakthrough.
“It is a big boost,” said Lutfi. “The victory has proved that we have a bright future in football and a solid back-up is in the making in the form of these youngsters.”
I am a big football fan and I love playing the game. I hope that the game flourishes in our country and that this win can be a major stepping stone towards it.