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While the social media goes crazy over what Maradona said, lets just pause for a minute and see what the PFF has been doing over the years. -Photo by AFP
While the social media goes crazy over what Maradona said, lets just pause for a minute and see what the PFF has been doing over the years. -Photo by AFP

Nothing much it seems.

All Diego Maradona knows is that Pakistan haven’t featured at a World Cup.

And for that, he’s compared the Argentina Football Federation (AFA) with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), apparently implying that his country's federation is as incompetent.

This is not surprising at all because the former World Cup winner wants to be the Argentina national team coach at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

In an interview with German magazine Sport Bild, the man who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup expressed his frustrations for being sacked as the 'Albiceleste' coach after their 2010 FIFA World Cup debacle when they were crushed 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals.

“The AFA has played dirty tricks on me. I should have also been the Argentina coach at the [2014] World Cup. But the current leaders of the association understand as much about football as Pakistan does,” he said.

“They don't have a clue at all.

“To clarify: There are certainly many good things in Pakistan, but I have never seen them play a World Cup final.

“I say: The current association leaders in Argentina are the same as Pakistan.”

And while the social media goes crazy over what Maradona said, lets just pause for a minute and see what the Pakistan Football Federation has been doing over the years.

Is it really that bad? No, it isn’t.

While it’s easy to sit back and, as a armchair critic, suggest that football hasn’t grown in Pakistan and nothing has been done by the PFF, it’s time to get the facts straight.

The PFF, headed by Faisal Saleh Hayat, has been running the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) for the last ten years.

In the last decade, not a single season has been missed, and that too despite the federation running on grants from FIFA and AFC.

Over the last three years, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) have been champions.

Last season, they became the first club team from Pakistan to reach the final of an AFC competition when they were beaten finalists in the AFC President’s Cup – the continent’s third-tier club competition.

This season, if KRL get through the first round of the President’s Cup, they will qualify for next year’s AFC Cup – Asia’s version of the Europa League.

Last month Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Dynamo signed KRL’s star attackers Mohammad Adil and Kaleemullah.

Both now have a chance at a better future.

Could they have done that without the PPFL?

“The current PFF setup is working towards lifting the standard of football step by step,” KRL head-coach Tariq Lutfi told

“It would be foolish to expect them to turn things overnight but we should support them in their endeavours because they at least have ensured a proper football structure in the country,” adds the UEFA A-Licensed coach, who is also, arguably, Pakistan’s most decorated coach.

Not only is the PFF organizing the league, but it’s also trying to focus on youth football and women’s football.

Pakistan were the winners of the inaugural SAFF U-16 Championship in 2011.

There is a PFF Women’s Championship which is held every year and this year, Pakistan will host the SAFF Women’s Championship.

The PFF has managed to do all that despite internal turmoil and unrest in the country, despite the threat of militant insurgency, and, most importantly, despite a lack of sponsorship for a majority of its tournaments.

The PFF got the most ‘Aspiring Member Association’ award by AFC last year and they plan to launch academies all throughout the country through FIFA’s goal projects by next year. And at least they have a target to achieve – it is ‘Goal 2022’ by when PFF hope to bring Pakistan team in the top 10 countries in Asia.

It’s a massive task and it won’t be easy but the PFF need our support – and not undue criticism. They’ve done best what can be done given the meagre resources Pakistan get through FIFA’s aid and sports grants by the government.

The truth is, football in the country can’t grow until local football fans become fans of Pakistan football.

As far as Maradona is concerned, he should learn from Pele on how not to give outlandish statements and be a true gentleman.

As far as the AFA are concerned, it’s a case of sour grapes perhaps for Maradona as Argentina qualified for the 2014 World Cup under coach Alejandro Sabella with a stroll and are installed big favourites to win it in Brazil!

Comments (34) Closed

event horizon Mar 27, 2014 02:22pm

Maradona's reference to Pakistan is like so many people use Timbuktu to refer to some irrelevant, unknown, or small place.

Rashid Mar 27, 2014 02:39pm

Maybe Maradona should take up the coaching job in Pakistan! Perhaps try to make it better if hes so worried? No?

imran Mar 27, 2014 02:46pm

The way he manged the team in 2010 was appalling.That team could have won the cup but his incompetent brought it down.Great payer but not good manager.Hopefully Argentina got a better manager who can lead them to victory.

ahmed Mar 27, 2014 02:48pm

....excellent....hopefully..slow and steady will win the race....inshALLAH...

James Mar 27, 2014 02:48pm

Yes Mr Maradona, we'll see how your team does if it has to live under the threat of daily violence

Pele Mar 27, 2014 03:08pm

There you go again with your nonsense Maradona! Your time has passed now just act like the legend you once were, please.

Habib Khaskhely Mar 27, 2014 03:19pm

its good sign he saw something in Pakistan's, we have such talented footballers, we should call Maradona as official visit to tips.

Haider Mar 27, 2014 03:31pm

My only complain is that PTV Sports should telecast the PPFL matches. Being totally government funded, PTV Sports can afford to do so.

Jadoon Mar 27, 2014 04:11pm

you maradona ! All world know how you become legend (totally foul player u did goal with hand). This is also in the knowledge of world, how you spoiled UAE team. And why they shunt you out. And so many other exemples but is your frailty a statement of such type

Football Fan Mar 27, 2014 04:19pm

Maradona surely is frustrated at the moment. He shouldn't just reference someone he doesn't know about. Plus the world knows as much about Pakistan and its Football as media projects it, which is nearly equal to nill.

Wachucha Mar 27, 2014 04:26pm

Pakistan has enormous talent in Balochistan. The kids there love football and seem to have natural ability for it. Quite a number of Balochi players are playing for various clubs in the Gulf countries. Government should introduce a massive campaign to promote football in Balochistan which is long overdue.

Naveed Alam Khattak Mar 27, 2014 04:44pm

I love football...

GA Mar 27, 2014 04:56pm

Conversely I think to campare PFF to football powerhouse Argentina's is a complement. PFF should hire Maradonna as he'll feel right at home here since things are similar.

Naveed Javed Mar 27, 2014 05:00pm

As they say in Urdu: "Badnaam na hon gy tou kya Naam na ho ga?"

Alia Butt Mar 27, 2014 05:21pm

@event horizon: Yeah, but Pakistan is certainly not Timbuktu for sure!

Rev. Eldrick Lal Mar 27, 2014 06:48pm

His analogy is completely preposterous. Icons like him should refrain from using analogies which shows provincialism and prejudice. There is a saying which goes, " If you have nothing to say good about me, please don't say bad also about me."

Yellow Shirt Mar 27, 2014 09:35pm

He sounds more pakistani than argentine after reading some of those comments he would fit right in !

syed baqar ahsan Mar 27, 2014 09:46pm

Maradona is great man who knows how dirty non-professional approach is there with officials of football and hockey.Shame upon us

Faisal A Taquie Mar 27, 2014 10:04pm

@Football Fan: I disagree, right now, everyone is having a free go at Pakistan, so does Maradona, Pak media should just ignore his blah blah! Akram and Miandad should now make references to Argentine cricket as analogy when discussing incompetence of PCB....bottom line, we are as good in soccer as Argentine is in cricket, no point insulting one country's administration over a minority sport.

s Mar 27, 2014 10:35pm

Maybe Maradona should realize that getting a drubbing at the hands of Germans at the quarter final is ALOT better than not playing at the world cup. Getting his frustration out at some other country just proves his immature thinking. Shame on him.

s Mar 27, 2014 10:37pm

@Rev. Eldrick Lal: Thanks for the wise words Sir.

Muhammad Irfan Mar 27, 2014 11:40pm

The write-up shows childish thinking of the writer who thinks he knows football better than THE GREAT MARADONA, who is a living legend! How can these drawing room writers challenge one of the top footballers the world has ever produced?

AdHawk Mar 28, 2014 04:31am

All right, all right, the next time Moin Khan needs to reference an obscure cricketing nation he should bring up Argentina. So there!.

Chicago bull Mar 28, 2014 05:56am

We have to sort out what is wrong with Pakistan s sports. For one thing I am sure cricket destroy the Pakistan s sports culture. Our whole media is after cricket covering and that make govt to just focus on it. We really need to put efforts on real hard sports like cricket and Hockey. Our youth get destroyed by lazy sport cricket.

M. Saeed Awan Mar 28, 2014 08:46am

Thank you Mardonna, you remember us where sort of Football game played not as supplying Hashish or terrorists. Good gesture....

Nabil Saleh Mar 28, 2014 09:55am

@event horizon: and yet our PFF jerks invite him ...may be the official who made the invitation didn't truly get what Maradona meant

stiglitx Mar 28, 2014 10:00am

Achievements which Dawn is boasting here about PFF are not even called achievements according to international standards. Those are just normal moves which any below average football federation would do to survive in this. Most of it are just " We will soon.. " types where these 'soon' never comes.

vijaykumar Mar 28, 2014 11:08am

it is "Hand of God " speaking and not maradona. So take it with a pinch of salt.

Muzammil Aftab Mar 28, 2014 07:12pm

The writer seems to be on the payroll of Faisal Saleh Hayat. Football federations the world over bribe such reporters to portray positive image of theirs. In this article the reporter has tried to praise Pakistan Football Federation for being at the lowly 158th position. He thinks that he and Faisal Saleh know football better than the great Maradona. Amazing!

MEDUSA Mar 29, 2014 12:54am

Bienvenido Diego Maradona! We welcome you with much enthusiasm and great respect!

Having family members who's children started playing soccer/football from the age of 5 years old, and who eventually played all through their high school years leading to sports scholarships - this like all sports if started early - the success rate is far greater to become a world class player. In most countries, including in South and North America boys and girls are coached by their parents at very young ages, then enrolled in summer sports camps when off from school.

Each soccer camp has 2 coaches and referees for every match, practice sessions take place 2-3 times a week depending upon the program. Soccer clinics are widespread as well and they are very beneficial in learning various skills of the game. Schools also have their own soccer programs so by the time a child is 8-10 years of age, he or she has already mastered the sport. It's also important for all athletes, no matter what sport they play- tennis, cricket, squash or soccer to have a regular fitness regiment in order to prevent injuries. Sometimes this can be costly, which is why sponsors can help offset these costs. The local township can also help defray these expenses by offering public spaces for these programs.

azadsindh Mar 29, 2014 02:00am

Balauchi,makrani,Sindhi are best football players. collect and train people from these parts along with other parts of will see difference. Pakistan has only one problem in sports. they chose and train Lahoris,karachi players to their likings. so we have not made real national team. I hate cricket team because it is not national team. it represent only punjab and karachi. no sindhi,balauchi,siraiki are in it. by speaking so i am not biased but the selectors are biased. this is the reason that you dont see major population of pakistan is not interested in playing any game.because they know their fate. we have destroyed hockey,squash,wrestling,volleyball , football ,cricket because of nepotism,favouritism and narrow mindedness of low IQ authorities.

MK Mar 29, 2014 05:32pm

@Rashid:Just dont persecute him for taking dozes of drugs

Salma Mar 29, 2014 09:32pm

He doesnt know that we play football according to shariah rules

ahmad butt Mar 30, 2014 04:33am

@azadsindh: Unfortunately, merit has been sidelined and till that is achieved, Pakistan soccer can achieve things at a lower level but cannot rise for ever participate in a world cup event.