Football in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. Soon after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Pakistan Football Federation PFF was formed and it got recognition from FIFA. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the first Chief of PFF. The Pakistan national football team became a member of the Asian Football Confederation(AFC) in 1954, South Asian Football Federation(SAFF) in 1997, and also become affiliated with world governing board FIFA in 1948.
PFF organized the game with the National Championship being held annually. Pakistan went to the neighboring countries and also participated in Asian Games in Manila and in Tokyo in 1950s. Pakistan has been taking part in other Asian tournaments as well.
But the game’s progress could not continue smoothly as it should have. Soon after the creation of federation, crisis one after another badly hampered Pakistan’s football progress and Pakistan’s participation in international games has not been on routine.
The domestic picture of football is far from worse. Pakistan Premier League is the only highest football division involving 16 teams.
Pakistan didn’t even participate in last year SAFF championship and already missed three regional events- the south Asian U16 championship, the U16 AFC championship qualifiers and U19 AFC events.
Pakistan’s best ever ranking, 141 in FIFA was about 22 years before back in 1994 and currently it’s on 194th position being lowest.
Keeping in view the recent flaws in Pakistani football, political rope a dope in the federation and lack of international and domestic tournaments, players (retired and current) and fans have lunched a “Save Football Campaign” on and off social media.
Former Pakistan Captain Muhammad Essa has recently said that they were ready to finalize Players Association which then begin a country wide protest to save football.
Talking to The News Essa said:
“Yes, we will soon make our association final and are confident that we will be able to launch our protests later this month for safeguarding the future of national footballers”.
While other players and fans took the social media by storm to record their protest. The best part of the protest is that Pakistan’s Professional Women players are also becoming the part of the campaign. Here are some of the screen shots of social media protest from players and football fans.
And the younger fans were not behind as well.
Hope this campaign result in productive progress in Pakistan’s Football and it shouldn’t face the fate of 1989’s campaign which ended with the intervention of FIFA without delivering any significant change.