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Pakistan players, officials yet to leave for Dushanbe

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee had hired the services of a private jet for taking it’s national football team to Dushanbe for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers game against Tajikistan but the airline did not take off due to technical issues on Monday.

It was a chartered flight being operated by a private company and Pakistan team on Monday had already reached waiting lounge of the Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport after taking boarding cards for flying to Dushanbe which will host the game on Tuesday (today) but the company informed the football authorities that their jet had developed a technical issue and cannot fly. As many as seven players and four oficials had to board the airline.

Haroon Malik, Chairman of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalization Committee, saod that concerted efforts have been made to ensure the Pakistan football team reaches Dushanbe, Tajikistan, for their away match in the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers.

Following the recent match between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, eleven members of the Pakistan football team, including seven players and four officials, have already arrived in Dushanbe. However, according to FIFA rules and regulations the team requires an additional nine players and two officials to be present at the venue to participate in the match.

Malik emphasized the critical nature of the situation, noting that failure to reach Dushanbe in time could invoke specific AFC and FIFA rules which would determine the outcome. Malik expressed his concerns, saying, “The fact that the national team has not yet departed for Dushanbe is extremely distressing.”

He assured that all possible resources are being utilized to address the issue and ensure the team’s arrival in Tajikistan.

“We are in constant communication with the Tajikistan football authorities and FIFA officials to keep them fully informed of the situation,” Malik said. He also mentioned that the PFF is coordinating with government officials at the highest levels. “The Prime Minister’s Office is making serious efforts to resolve the issue,” Malik added.