first_imgPolitical differences notwithstanding, India are all set to resume sporting ties with Pakistan and this time it will not be cricket but football which will bring the two countries together on the sports field as the subcontinental neighbours get ready for a three-match series in England starting August 25.They will play in Manchester, Coventry and London amongst other friendlies that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning for the Indian team.The last time the two teams played a football series was way back in 2005 in Pakistan. The series has been on hold for quite some time with the Indian government refusing to issue the NOC for the series.But with the clearance coming their way, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das feels that it will be exciting to witness the arch-rivals clash on the football field.”It is an exciting development for all of us. Due to the political problems, we can’t travel to Pakistan and they can’t come here. So it was decided that a neutral venue be selected – England. It has been six years since the two teams last played each other, so we are all waiting with bated breath to watch them in action,” he told MAIL TODAY.Elaborating on selecting England as the venue, Das said: ” London has a large South Asian community living there and they are all passionate about the game, so we thought that it would be apt that the South Asians living there get to see their teams in action.” Das made it clear that the team, set to be coached by Desmond Bulpin – coach of Indian Arrows – will consist of mostly U- 23 players who recently represented India in the Olympic qualifiers.advertisement”The team, which will be coached by Bulpin, will mostly have U-23 players with a few seniors joining them. Honestly, most of the U- 23 boys have already broken into the senior team, so we can’t actually say that it is our U- 23 team.”We feel that the boys did a marvellous job in the Olympic qualifiers and they deserve more match practice, keeping in mind our aim to build a team for the 2018 World Cup.We won’t be playing just Pakistan’s national team, but also a few clubs in England. So that the boys will get ample practice against quality opponents,” he said.Praful Patel, president of AIFF, expressed his delight at the announcement. ” Playing Pakistan is always special. It’s a positive sign that we will play a bilateral football series against Pakistan. I’m sure all sporting fans are eagerly looking forward to it,” he said.The tour is being organised by Touch-Sky Sports (TSS), a FIFA and UEFA Licensed Match and Player Agency. Ahmer Kunwar of TSS said: ” It gives me immense pleasure in organising this epoch- making tour. The tour would provide the Indian and Pakistani nationals based in England a chance to witness their native teams in action at the ‘ Home of Football’ – England.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *