Pakistan’s First Professional League In The Pipeline

Nov 4, 2013 by     Comments Off on Pakistan’s First Professional League In The Pipeline    Posted under: General, Sports Buzz, Spotlight

The Federation for Football in Pakistan, PFF’s marketing consultant Sardar Naveed Haider must have delighted a lot of Pakistani Football fans when, talking to the media recently, he said that a Pakistan Inter-City League is in the pipeline and its launch date will be announced soon. Naveed proceeded to mention that talks to unveil the league next year are in the final phase with an organization of international stature. This is first time that the game will be commercialised in the country and the professional league will be the first of its kind in Pakistan.

The above-mentioned company, Naveed said, is already involved in organizing other sporting events around the world. The model for the league has been approved and the deal with the company, ‘90 per cent done’. The tentative date for the inauguration has been set for March 2014, which is not more than five months away. PFF aims to promote the game of football in the whole country, and it has finally realized that this can only be done by introducing inter-city rivalries and domestic honors. Naveed was excited about the prospect and added that establishing a professional league was his biggest dream when he joined PFF.

The league will see 6 teams competing for the honor of finishing at the summit of the table at the end. There will be one team each from the provincial capitals Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta. Of the remaining two, one will be representing Islamabad & Fata, while the last team will consist of players mostly from the Northern Areas. After the first season, the PFF will consider expanding the league and adding more teams to the table. Even though PFF also has plans to gradually make the league evolve into a competition in which fixtures are played in stadiums all over the country, but the matches of the inaugural season will all be played in Lahore. This is due to the insecure law and order situation of the country.

The need to ensure fool-proof security is even greater because the PFF will be inviting foreign players to play in the league too, which is bound to bring some gloss and glamor to the competition. Naveed said that players from strong footballing nations like Ghana and Ivory Coast have shown interest in playing in the new venture, and that the PFF will also ask players from Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Malaysia to come and play. In the inaugural season, each team will be allowed to include two foreign players in their squad, while the PFF has made it compulsory for teams to have two U-19 and two U-16 players in their squads, which is a good step taken to polish young talent among the experienced players.

PFF also hopes to convince Pakistan’s foreign based players plying their trade elsewhere in the world to feature in the competition. Players like Zesh Rehman and Yousuf Butt can surely add a lot of quality to the squads of the teams, and it would be brilliant to see them playing in a Pakistan domestic competition. The games will also be broadcasted live on television, which will surely boost the popularity of the sport, which has been ignored for too long in our country.

Ofcourse, it will be impossible to sustain such a lavish tournament without adequate financial support and the corporate sector will be required to lend a hand to the venture. All the top leagues and teams around the world would crumble without their sponsors and so, our commercial sector, like the banks and the multinational companies will need to come forward and sponsor both the league and the teams, so that this commendable initiative can be sustained for the sport’s future.

The Author

Ali Qamber is an engineering student at PNEC, NUST. He is a certified maila from St. Patricks High and lives, loves and wastes his time in Karachi. Besides writing useless stuff such as above, he also enjoys the finer things in a Karachiite's life, like night-cricket, hangouts at the beach and strikes. Find him on twitter (@qamberger) or facebook (saliqamber).

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