Faisal becomes first Pakistani AFC vice president

LAHORE - Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has been elected unopposed vice president of Asian Football Federation (AFC), as no other candidate appeared from South Zone of AFC.

The AFC elections are to be held in the first week of April. The formal notification of Faisal’s election as vice president will be issued in April. This is a great victory for Pakistan and for the first time in the country’s 71-year history, any Pakistani has been honored to serve at Asian football level.

This speaks volumes about Faisal’s leadership and this will certainly help Pakistan football to grow to the next level. Particularly when the PFF has elected a new body under Syed Ashfaq Hussai in result of the elections held on apex court orders, which was not recognised by FIFA and AFC and Pakistan is expected to be suspended, sooner or later.

Talking to The Nation after being elected as AFC vice president unopposed, Faisal said: “My election as AFC vice president is a proud occasion for the football family of Pakistan and I am humbled by this monumental success. It will be my continuous endeavor to uphold the golden principles of this global sport in Asia with the joint efforts of the Asian football community. It will further enable me to develop the game in all its aspects in Pakistan. We will strive to achieve the best for our players, coaches, referees and all those associated with football in Pakistan.

“Being the first Pakistani ever to become AFC vice president, this office would enable me to further raise the voice and cause of Pakistan at the global forums highlighting and promoting the softer image of the country which is the pressing need of the times,” he added.

Football is further flourishing in almost every country, but the football activities are almost halt in the country as no national football team can take part in any international activity. On this, Faisal said: “Pakistan football was on the rise in early 2015 and was dealt a fatal blow with third party interference depriving the country of it’s true potential.

“Again we witnessed phenomenal progress in the short span of eight months in 2018, which was cut short again by third party interference. Pakistan football can only prosper and flourish when the international laws are abided to which ensure transparency and development,” he asserted.

Faisal urged the relevant authorities in Pakistan to let football be governed as it is in the other 210 countries of the world. “There is a dire need to stop playing favourites or interfering in the affairs of the federation, which has already caused great harm. To establish the soft image of Pakistan, it is pertinent to abide by the charter of international sports organization,” he concluded.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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