PFF announces National Football Cup 2018 after FIFA lifts ban

A group photo of the senior football team in Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Football Federation)
Updated 31 March 2018
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PFF announces National Football Cup 2018 after FIFA lifts ban

LAHORE: Taking a step forward to revive the sport after FIFA restored the country’s membership, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has announced it is holding the National Football Challenge Cup 2018 after a gap of two years, Shahid Khokhar, Director League Development and Media, confirmed to Arab News.
The challenge cup will be played from April 20 to May 10 in Karachi, where 24 teams are expected to participate.
In the last challenge cup played in 2016, 16 teams faced each other to lift the trophy, while the number of participating teams in 2015 was 14. This year more teams have showed an interest in taking part. Matches will be played on the grounds of Karachi Port Trust.
“The cup is a major milestone in the revival of football in the country, a step to cultivate talent and take the sport to new heights. The wastelands of football will be turned into green meadows of the sport now,” jubilant Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, president of the PFF, told Arab News.
The tournament was initiated in 1979 and had been played under different names — the Pakistan Football Federation President’s Cup, the Pakistan Inter-Departmental Championship, the National Departmental Championship, the Inter Provincial Championship — but in the year 2005 its name was changed to National Football Challenge Cup.
It is the first tournament of the Faisal-led PFF body after a gap of three years, as the federation was being run by a court-appointed administrator. The appointment of the administrator was declared unlawful by a division bench of the High Court which ordered financial and administrative control to be handed over to the legitimate body headed by Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat.
FIFA also lifted the ban imposed on PFF earlier this month after the legitimate body was restored by the court ruling.
“We got a positive response from football lovers as many new teams are vying to get registered in the National Challenge Cup 2018,” Hayat added.
The PFF secretary, Col. Ahmad Yar Lodhi, has also appreciated the formation of new departmental clubs.
It is “good for the game as it will support the endeavors of PFF in many ways,” reads a federation press release. “It would not only help groom new talent but many football coaches would also get employment with the new teams.”
Pakistan State Life Insurance, Asia Ghee Mills and Shama Banaspati have approached PFF for their teams to be registered for the National Challenge Cup 2018.
The PFF is vying to find new blood in Pakistani football and plans to form a special committee to find new talent for the national team.


Bert van Marwijk confirmed as new UAE boss

Updated 20 March 2019
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Bert van Marwijk confirmed as new UAE boss

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach given task of guiding the UAE to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • To be presented to the fans just before the UAE take on the Green Falcons on Thursday.

LONDON: The UAE FA has confirmed that Bert van Marwijk is to be the national side’s new coach.
The former Saudi Arabia manager arrived in Dubai on Wednesday to thrash out terms and has agreed to a deal that sees him potentially stay in the dugout through to the 2023 Asian Cup.
The Dutchman becomes the new UAE coach with the national side in a state of flux. The much-heralded “Golden Generation” failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup and underwhelmed on their way to the Asian Cup semifinals on home soil in January.
He replaces Alberto Zaccheroni whose defensive tactics both failed to find success and inspire the fans. The Italian left the job after the last-four exit at the Asian Cup.
Thanks to his track record with Saudi Arabia Van Marwijk was reportedly the UAE’s first choice to take the side into World Cup qualifying, which starts in September — his first task being to get the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
The 66-year-old guided the Green Falcons to the Russian World Cup — the Saudis’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017 after contractual negotiations broke down.
The UAE face his former side in a friendly on Thursday, with a friendly against Syria set for next Tuesday. Van Marwijk will be in the stands for those matches with interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman in charge of the players on the pitch.
The Dutchman will be presented to the public and media shortly before Thursday’s friendly against the Green Falcons.