Yes, I know it is quite far away and yes, I also know at the speed the world is going, a lot would have changed in the next 12 years.
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) recently claimed that their Vision 2020 will lead Pakistan to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Here is what an unnamed official said:
“We are quite confident that Vision 2020 for game development will see us playing at the Olympic Games and Vision 2022 will place us in the FIFA World Cup if the PFF’s focus remains on development at the grass-root level of the game.
There are 850 regular players featuring in two leagues — Pakistan Premier League (‘A’ division) and PFF League (‘B’ division). We are also planning to hold a ‘C’ division league for strengthening the game further at the districts and divisions level.
If the juniors continue to work hard and our qualification of local coaches is enhanced further, the PFF is quite confident to feature the national team in mega FIFA events.”
He further said, in reply to a question that:
“Vision 2020 for the Olympics is designed to enable us to qualify for the premier sports event with the strategy of the federation remaining the same, i.e., uplifting sports at the district and division levels.
The youth will remain our driving force as it is they who will confirm Pakistan’s place in the FIFA World Cup 12 years from now.”
He also mentioned that 35 national coaching centers alongside 1,572 registered football clubs and numerous unregistered football clubs/teams are producing a strong young footballing generation and the number of professional footballers is expected to increase in the next decade.
Just to bring the ‘unnamed official’ back to the present, Pakistan were knocked out of the ongoing 2010 World Cup qualifiers at the hands of Iraq with the a flattering 7-0 scoreline to their favor (duh!). Also, Pakistan is currently ranked 165 by FIFA out of the total 202 footballing nations.
Although, I will die happy knowing that we have participated in a FIFA World Cup alongside some of the biggest names of the world.