PESHAWAR: FATA Football Super League 2017, featuring three foreign players, will kick-off here at Qayyum Sports Complex on Friday, writes Alam Zeb Safi.
Shahid Shinwari, chief organiser and FATA Olympic Association’s president, told ‘The News’ here on Tuesday that one player each from Indonesia, Malaysia and Afghanistan would be seen in action in the competitions.
He added that these players would reach Peshawar on Wednesday (today).
In the competitions as many as 12 outfits will vie for the top honour.
Koza Hanipi Mochamad of Indonesia and Ahmad Nazim Bin Ahmad Nazrin of Malaysia will arrive in Islamabad, while the Afghan player, whose name Shahid did not disclose, will arrive directly in Peshawar.
Pakistan’s current and former players, including Yasir Afridi, Mohammad Rasool, Mohammad Riaz, Mehmood Khan and Jadeed Pathan, will also be seen in action.
“All the participating clubs are hiring the services of departmental players and we hope it will be a competitive event,” Shahid said.
The 12 outfits have been bracketed in four groups. The Group A comprises Young Jamrud United, Khyber Eagles and Shinwari Football Club.
Khyber Greens, Darra Eagles and Ghazi Ajab Khan form the Group B. Faqir EP North Waziristan Agency, Shams FC Landi Kotal and Al-Haaj Group have been bracketed in the Group C.
Bajaur Stars, Malik Saad Falcons and Kurram Shaheen have been clubbed in the Group D.
The leading two sides from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals, which will be held on October 19 to 20.
The semi-finals will take place on October 22 and 23 and the final on October 24.
A sum of Rs1.5 million will be spent on the event. The winners will get Rs500,000, while the runners-up will be given Rs300,000.
Two matches will be held daily: the first from 1:30pm, and the second from 3:30pm.
The best goalkeeper, the leading scorer and top technical officials will also get prizes.
Shahid, a former national footballer, said that a selection committee, carrying former football gurus Qazi Asif, Basit Kamal, Najeebullah Najmi, Col Mujahid and Tariq Lutfi, would pick players from the event to be groomed for future top assignments.
Former top officials of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Pervez Saeed Mir and Rauf Bari are supporting the organisers, Shahid added.
He said that he wanted all the sports lovers to extend their support so that the event could be made successful. “This will help develop football in FATA,” Shahid said.
He said that efforts were being made to invite top government functionaries and politicians to grace the opening and closing ceremonies.
Since April 2015, there has been little football activity in Pakistan due to a conflict between two groups of officials. In this scenario, such events provide some relief and practice to the players.