Pakistan set to miss SAFF U16 Championship

NOC was not issued for the event

August 29, 2023
Pakistan U16 squad - PFF

KARACHI: The Pakistan football team is set to miss the SAFF U16 Championship in Bhutan after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) didn't get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). 

The development was confirmed on Tuesday by PFF NC Chief Haroon Malik. 

"We won't participate in the event because we didn't get the NOC," said Malik. "It is extremely disappointing that we didn't get the NOC on time." 

The Pakistan team was supposed to leave for Bhutan today. 

However, Malik was hopeful that the U19, U23 and national teams will get the NOC for the upcoming events in September. 

When DG PSB Shoaib Khoso was approached on the matter, he said that the delay was due to incomplete documentation sent by the PFF.

He added that "PFF's lawyer also admitted that the paperwork was incomplete".

Despite the incomplete documentation, we processed the case but the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination raised objections on it.

However, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Shaza Khawaja, offered a glimmer of hope later during the day. 

It must be noted that the issuance of NOC is a recurring problem faced by the PFF since the same happened with the national men’s and women’s team in the recent past.

The SAFF U16 Championship will take place from September 1-10.

As per the announced schedule, Pakistan are set to kick off their campaign against the home side, Bhutan, on September 1 at Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu.

The Green Shirts will face the Maldives on September 3 at the same venue, with the top two teams qualifying for the semi-final stage. 

Faizan Lakhani is Deputy Editor (Sports) at Geo News.