Pakistan lost 0-7 to Iraq at home in their World Cup qualifier last night. Despite the humiliating scoreline, the result will barely register as a blip in Pakistan (heck, I happened to come across it on livescore.com while spot-checking how fast our live blogger was compared to the live score service (franky’s faster)).
The result reminded me of two things – a BBC article that talked about how the PFF had conducted trials for British Asian footballers and the words of a friend of mine who’s been wondering why Soccerlens isn’t more popular in Pakistan (needs better offline marketing?).
It would be callous of me to call the PFF blundering idiots, but such is the organisational ineptitude here that well-meaning individuals spend decades trying to achieve what the (relatively) well-oiled organisational machinery in the West (oh, here we go again) would in a few years. The striking highlight of the image above (if you’re in your RSS reader, click through to see it) is that the players are standing behind the administration – football here is still very much a test-tube fetus where the players are less important than the people managing the sport.
Football is played with a passion here at school level (not as much as cricket, but it’s a close second, tied with basketball), but the most glaring thing missing is a grassroots structure to not only nurture talent but to highlight it. The team’s results may be an embarrassment but the mere fact that we’re working on improving our condition is something to be proud of. Nationalistic pride has its uses, football needs it more than ever.
I’m inclined to apply for the post of ‘foreign coach for the senior national team – while I lack the ‘foreign’ blood I’m good at Football Manager and somewhat known to football fans around the world (I kid) – AND I won’t charge much. My references would be journalists from the British media, if necessary. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?