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Pakistani soccer staff to play in India for the primary time since 2014

by Pakistan Latest News Update

Pakistan’s nationwide soccer staff has been given visas for India, officers mentioned, the place they may tackle the hosts of their first match on Indian soil since 2014.

The South Asian neighbours will kick off the South Asian Soccer Federation (SAFF) Championship on Wednesday.
The 2 international locations not often play dwelling matches in opposition to one another in any sport because of long-running political tensions made worse by the Mumbai assaults of 2008 and the scrapping of Indian-administered Kashmir’s particular standing in 2019.
The participation of Pakistan within the Bengaluru occasion has raised hopes Islamabad will participate within the ICC World Cup cricket event hosted by India later this yr, having earlier threatened to boycott the occasion.
Haroon Malik, the president of the Pakistan Soccer Federation, instructed a global media that the visa approval was “a great sign and very significant” and required getting “no objection certificates” from each the Pakistani and Indian governments.
“This is a very positive sign and shows at least some level of resumption of sporting ties,” Malik mentioned, including that the visas had been obtained on Monday night.
“We are very excited and looking forward to this tournament, and this really is the role of football – to unite the world and bring [people] closer.”
The final time Pakistan performed soccer in India was in 2014, after they drew a two-match sequence, however additionally they confronted off within the SAFF Championship in Bangladesh in 2018, with India successful 3-1.
Soccer is well-liked in each nations however is dwarfed in reputation by cricket.
Regardless of the tens of millions in income bilateral cricket matches would earn, the final time they performed cricket on dwelling soil was when Pakistan toured India for 5 limited-overs matches in 2012.
The eight-nation SAFF Championship kicks off Wednesday, with Pakistan in Group A alongside India, Kuwait and Nepal, and Group B that includes Lebanon, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The ultimate is scheduled for July 4.
India are presently 101st in FIFA’s world rankings, whereas Pakistan is ranked 195th. Pakistani soccer has lengthy been in turmoil over alleged political interference and violence.
FIFA lifted a 15-month suspension of the PFF in July 2022, which had been imposed because of third-party interference.
Ali Ahsan, the editor of FootballPakistan.com an internet platform overlaying Pakistani soccer, instructed a global media that Pakistan’s present squad has a mean age of simply 21 and is a mixture of home and foreign-based which have restricted expertise taking part in collectively.
“So this international football experience is crucial to get our proper starting lineup and squad ready for the October [2026 World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup] qualifiers … Pakistan remains the only AFC nation that has not won a single World Cup qualification match in its history,” Ahsan mentioned.
“We need to end this streak that began back in 1989 for the 1990 World Cup qualifiers where we participated for the first time.”

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