Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pakistan "will host" the third AFC Presidents Cup

Pakistan will host the Asian Football Confederation's third President’s Cup at Jinnah Stadium next year, Pakistan Football Federation president Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat told the Daily Times. He said top Asian teams will participate in the event which will "boost the soccer promotion campaign being launched by the national federation.”

The AFC Presidents Cup is a tournament for league champion clubs from Asia's emerging footballing nations and was first won by Tajikistan's Regar-TadAZ in the play-offs in Nepal in 2005. The 2006 event, being held in Cambodia from 10-20 May, includes Transport United (Bhutan), Tatung (Chinese Taipei), Khemara (Cambodia) and Pakistan Army (Pakistan) in Group A and Dordoi-Dynamo (Kyrgyzstan), Ratnam Sports Club (Sri Lanka), FC Vakhsh (Tajikistan) and Manang Marsyangdi (Nepal) in Group B.

Hayat said international exposure builds confidence among the players and federation is trying its best to provide such opportunities to the players. He added that Pakistan's improving international ranking had been praised by FIFA president Sepp Blatter. “In my recent meeting with FIFA president, he promised to visit Pakistan after the World Cup to inaugurate FIFA House in Lahore,” he said.

FIFA House is a modern facility built at a cost of $800,000. It houses a football academy, coaching centre and allied facilities for holding seminars and coaching clinics for the benefit of the technical officials.

FIFA provided a grant of $640,000 through its Goal Project, the PFF generated $375,000 from its own resources, the Prime Minister of Pakistan gave a grant of Rs 10 million and the land was given by the Punjab state government.

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