LAHORE  -   Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has honoured it national under-15 football team, which won silver medals in the SAFF Under-15 Football Championship, recently concluded in Kathmandu, Nepal.

In the final of the SAFF event, the national lost to Bangladesh by 2-3 on penalties. The colourful ceremony was organised at the PFF House Lawn on Monday and was attended by chief guest PFF Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, guest of honour Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hassan, PFF Secretary Col (R) Ahmed Yar Khan, national team head coach Jose Nogueira, U-15 coach Beto Portella and national and local players.

Faisal also announced Rs 1.5 million for the winning team and coaching staff. “I really appreciate Captain Haseeb Khan for leading the team very well. The credit also goes to the boys, coaching staff and management, who all played key role in earning such a great honour.”

He also highlighted the achievements of the federation, which it achieved in the short span of time. “After getting back the PFF House and affairs, we conducted and participated in around 21 events at national and international level and in just 7 months time, the national teams have started bearing the fruits.”

Lamenting on the three precious years, wasted by PML-N government-backed occupiers, the PFF chief said that this turmoil destroyed all the good work done by the federation. “We got back the PFF with the aim of taking Pakistan football to new heights. We are committed and putting our all-out efforts for the progress and betterment of the game in the country.”

Lauding the role of AFC in promoting football in Asia, Faisal said that the AFC is keen to do a lot more for its member associations. “There is a good news that the AFC has doubled the grants of its associations, which will surely help in improving the standard of the game in the continent, especially for Pakistan football, which is striving to achieve new heights.”

He also announced that Pakistan is going to get an international women coach soon. “Pakistan is full of natural talent while Pakistani women are also not far behind as they have been excelling in almost in every field. Same is the case with women football in Pakistan, as our females are also dedicated to this game and want to do something big for their country but for this, they need international-standard facilities and training. It will surely be good news for them that they are going to have an international soon.”

Sharing his views, U-15 coach Beto Portella said that he is very pleased with the performance of the team. “My boys performed really well and played under the given plan, which has started reaping the results. Pakistan team need such more and better performances to further excel. I hope the boys will work harder and train well for the upcoming events, and win more glories for the country.”

POA President Lt Gen (R) Arif Hassan also praised the youngsters for making the entire nation proud. “Pakistan Football Federation has been doing its work with great devotion and dedication, due to which U-15 team won silver medals in the SAFF Football event and the national football team earned bronze medals in the Asian Games. I hope under the dynamic leadership of Faisal Saleh Hayat, the PFF and Pakistan football will further flourish.”