Could Indo-Pak Football have an enthralling chapter?!

India beat Puerto Rico 4-1 in an international friendly on Saturday played at Mumbai Football Arena. Exemplary performance by the blues and the high-spirited crowd, an epitome of progressive growth. We have come a long way to see such a game in our country. Praful Patel, the President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) expressed that India will look to host more friendly matches in the future.

While India has already accelerated its pace since the emergence of ISL franchise and the recent International Friendly against Puerto Rico, we wonder if our readers are curious about the happenings in our neighbouring country Pakistan.
We have seen the struggle to place Football among the audience, lack of football culture has ruined many practices in the nation. With ample talent pool, the slow or no footballing development have snatched away many opportunities from deserving aspirants. Currently placed 178 in the FIFA overall rankings, it screams the necessity for improvement.
The scenario is more or less the same with our neighbouring country, Pakistan. Despite political tension between the two, the sport brings us together be it on the web portal or otherwise. Acknowledging the talent, players like Kaleemullah, Zesh Rahman, Hasan Bashir have kept the audience from other side hooked to the screen solely for the talent and skills they possess. Hajra Khan, Captain of the Pakistan Women’s National Football Team has inspired the girls in India too. 
kaleem-chhetri-handshake-footballcounter

Kaleem-Chhetri-Handshake 2014

Farid Khan, budding Journalist and also the former president of Forman Sports Society well known in Lahore, Pakistan spoke to us on how the sport is not considered as a career option simply because of the lack of opportunities and path. He says “The Pakistani youth are one of the most talented but see no scope as a career in football. They do play a lot of football, club football and tournaments are held but they play for fun and for sake of it. They get selected for departments, have to leave their studies and earn just 20,000 Rupees which is a low amount for a living especially when you have a family.
Also, mentions how the disinterest of the officials is a barrier to the progress. Fair to say, the struggle is real for both the sides to have given the  command to some of the people who take Football as a business opportunity.
To fill the gaps, the players of the Pakistan national team are looking for making a parallel body and get it recognised with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) instead of Pakistan Football Association (PFA), as the disturbance of the bodies have caused them to not being able to play SAFF games and host games in the nation.
The efforts taken to clear the mess will make a difference sooner or later.
On Future India-Pakistan games, he says “People admire Sunil Chhetri, Subrata Paul and other players here in Pakistan. Despite the political stability what can be done is conduct matches on neutral venues be it Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Qatar where the teams can play in peace. This is a need of the hour, we need to have more and more matches.
The journey is long with them keeping the sport on par with politics and relatable issues, the beauty of the sport is being compromised. We stand in solidarity towards upliftment and development of individual talents as the dream of such players doesn’t deserve to be crushed under the weight of greed and corruption.
For the love of the game, we wonder if Pakistan overcomes the challenge and succeeds in developing their game, would we await the India-Pakistan Football Match as enthusiastically as we do for the Cricket Matches. A nickel for every thought that crosses every Indian’s mind!
Hope you had a good Sunday read, later much! However, please do follow us on www.footballcounter.com for daily Mumbai Football update and some Sunday Specials too!

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