LAHORE-After Pakistan’s football clash against Tajikistan at Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalization Committee Chairman Haroon Malik expressed his satisfaction with the national team’s performance, saying long-term planning for national team is a dire need of the hour.
Addressing the media after the FIFA Qualifier second round match, Malik conveyed his gratitude for hosting another FIFA Qualifier on home ground, witnessed by 20,000 passionate football fans. He acknowledged the role of national team head coach Stephen Constantine and the players, saying, “I am thankful to Stephen Constantine and our players who provided us moments to cheer.” He also praised the football fans, highlighting their passion and love for the game, which has kept Pakistani football alive.
Regarding the national team’s performance against Tajikistan, Malik remarked, “Our players tried to give their best against the much superior visiting side, playing much better than expected in such a short span of time.” He emphasized the need for a long-term planning, pointing out the 50-year plan Japan has for the World Cup, that has made them Asian giants in football.
“These six second-round matches of FIFA Qualifiers are development matches. Our entire effort is to qualify for the AFC Cup. I am very satisfied and happy with the team’s performance, and I hope they will further improve it under the able coaching and guidance of national team coach Stephen Constantine,” Malik asserted, emphasizing gradual progress.
Responding to a query about a professional league, Malik advocated for a league based on home and away matches with a points system. He believed that a professional league for clubs would attract better players, contributing to the national team’s success on the international stage.
Regarding the national team’s international exposure, Malik stated, “From 2022 till now, Pakistan’s national men’s team played 36 international matches, gaining confidence and experience. We are now at the very basic step of the right track, with a gradual process to be competitive at SAFF and Asia levels. “We can hope to make gradual progress and bring joy to our football fans,” Malik concluded.