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We have made significant progress in the promotion and development of football in Pakistan: Faisal Saleh Hayat.—File photo

LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat has said that the year 2011 is very important for him as Pakistan will compete in the qualifiers for the London Olympics and World Cup in the season.

“The year 2011 will see the high-profile FIFA and AFC events while the Pakistan national team will also appear in the 4th AFC Challenge Cup and the SAFF Championship besides AFC U-16, U-19, U-13 events and other international events,” he said after presiding over the Congress meeting here on Tuesday.

He said the launch of Vision Asia was a milestone in the country’s football history. “We have made significant progress in the promotion and development of football in Pakistan and are optimistic about it gaining more popularity in the coming years,” he said.

The football chief added that the Congress also approved PFF’s calendar of activities for 2011 which would cost Rs50.5 million.

He congratulated Wapda for winning the Pakistan Premier Football League this year, to earn a place in the 7th AFC President’s Cup.

He also praised the performance of the Young Rising Stars Club for lifting the national women’s title.

The Congress also gave approval for district, provincial, PFF elections, which are to be held in 2011.

The final elections’ list and the appointment of regional and provincial election commissioners were approved by the full house unanimously.

The Congress also carried out elections for the women’s committee. The two Congress members Robina Irfan and Frashta Ali Shrafi were elected the chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively, while Najma Naz from Khyber Pashtunkhwa, Kiran Ilyas from Punjab and Mejzgaan Orakzai from Islamabad were elected as members.

Among the other decisions taken on the day, permanent memberships were given to Islamabad Football Association, Afghan FC Chaman, PMC Atheltco Faisalabad, Young Rising Star Women Club Rawalpindi and Diya Women Football Club Karachi increasing the PFF Congress strength to 29.

Meanwhile, minutes of the last Congress held in August were approved along with the calendar of activities for 2011 within the approximate budget of Rs55 million, approval of financial statement of June-December 2010.

The coaches’ reports of National U-23 team in the Asian Games and the national women team were also presented and reviewed.

The Congress gave its approval for the district and provincial elections in 2011. The final election list and the appointment of regional and provincial election commissioners were also approved by the house.

The Congress members were also informed that the Australian High Commissioner Timothy George had donated 18,000 Australian dollars as the sports development grant to the PFF.

During the meeting, the PFF made several amendments in the constitution on the instructions of Vision Asia team as laid down in FIFA, AFC.

Earlier, the PFF Executive Committee, chaired by the PFF President Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, announced that the Korean Football Association has given US$400,000 to the PFF for the construction of the nine goal projects in Pakistan, about which it was hoped that they would be completed by March 2011.

The federation’s big challenges in 2011 include the Pakistan team’s visit to Thailand for three weeks in preparation of the Olympics qualifiers.

They would also play against Malaysia on a home-and-away basis with a similar event with Palestine both in February/March.

In August the Pakistan team will visit Korea for three to four weeks to play matches against the top clubs there.

On the domestic front, the PFF will organise an U-14 event in Lyari in January 2011.

Faisal Saleh Hayat thanked the Australian High Commissioner for development of the game in Lyari and Gilgit while also appreciating the efforts of the PFF marketing department who had donated 18,000 US dollars for the development of the game in the country.

The Executive Committee meeting concluded by extending congratulations to the three members of the football family for receiving medals from the AFC for their contributions for the football in Pakistan.

Sindh Football Association (SFA) President Abbas Baloch received a gold medal, Saeed Khan a silver medal and Ghayas Baloch of Rawalpindi’s Young Rising Star Women’s Football Club a bronze medal.