KARACHI: The much-anticipated Ramadan Football Tournament took off in the city’s Naya Nazimabad area on Saturday, to the delight of football fans in the city.
The tournament was inaugurated by Chief Guest Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who performed an honorary kick-off before the first match at the Naya Nazimabad Football Stadium.
Shah’s kick ended up hitting a photographer standing nearby. However, the minister was quick to apologise for the incident.
The city’s top footballers will be seen in action in the tournament as part of eight teams that will participate in the event, which was won by Pakistan Army last year.
The tournament’s final will be played on April 9.
Former footballer Nasir Ismail is among the organisers of the tournament.
Earlier, Ismail urged the FIFA-appointed Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) that it should hire a foreign coach if it wants its national men’s team to deliver in the coming international events.
“If we are to deliver in the SAFF Cup and World Cup Qualifiers then NC should hire the services of a foreign coach,” Nasir told The News on Tuesday.
“NC can pick from a pool of former Pakistan coaches Zavisa Milosavljevic, Salman Sharida and Mohammed Shamlan as all these three have served Pakistan and know exactly the culture and even the quality of players here,” Nasir said.
He also suggested that the Pakistan team’s current head coach Shehzad Anwar be appointed as Director Technical.
“I think being a technical person Shehzad should be appointed as Director Technical. I am not against Shehzad as he has done several coaching courses with me but he has been unable to produce results and it’s time to go for a foreign coach,” Nasir said.
Nasir said that the current men’s team got every kind of facility and it should have beaten Maldives in Tuesday’s game.
“I think Pakistan should have beaten Maldives today. The head coach and the entire team have enjoyed top facilities which were never enjoyed by any team in Pakistan’s football history but the team is not producing results which is disappointing,” Nasir said.
Nasir also objected to the way foreign-based footballers are being brought in without them attending the national camp.
“How can foreign-based players adjust when they arrive just one day before an international game? I think in the future, if they are not able to join the camp ten days before an event or a match, they should not be considered for national duty,” Nasir said.