The Pakistan women’s football team is in contention to participate in the upcoming edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Championship. This follows the lifting of FIFA’s ban on the country.
The SAFF Women’s Championship is due to begin on 29 August in Nepal. Five teams are already due to take part in the tournament, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and the Maldives.
Afghanistan is unlikely to be involved in the tournament, while Pakistan’s participation is subject to the approval of the SAFF.
According to the details, SAFF has asked the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to send in the entry form after which the SAFF committee will consider their participation in the tournament.
Shahid Khokar, a member of the Normalization Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation, has stated that the national team is likely to compete in the upcoming competition as talks with the general secretary of the South Asian Football Federation, Anwarul Haque Helal, have been productive.
However, the women’s national team will have difficulty as they have not played an international match since 2015 and there is only two months left before the competition.
The PFF will need to take quick action to get the national women’s team back up to speed. With the team having been out of action for so long, new players will need to be identified and several appointments, including filling the vacant head coach seat, will need to be made to get the team back on track.
Pakistan was suspended by FIFA in April last year after the PFF NC was ousted from the PFF headquarters by a group of officials led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, who was elected president in a PFF poll held by the Supreme Court which was never recognized by FIFA. The NC returned to office in March this year but the ban stayed as the accounts were still not in its control.