ISLAMABAD- All India Football Federation (AIFA) feels the two- match series played this month against Pakistan after a long gap of nine years will go a long way in promoting friendship and goodwill amongst the two countries.

Both teams had reason to cheer. India won the first game 1-0 on August 17, while Pakistan won the second 2-0 on August 20. The matches, the first meetings between the two sides for nine years, were played in an excellent spirit in India, says a press release issued here. President AIFA Praful Patel said it is historic that for the first time the Under-23 football teams of India and Pakistan have played a two-match series. “I am sure such a momentousasion will go a long way in promoting friendship and goodwill amongst the two countries,” he said.

He said this series was very competitive and exciting and he hopes that this is the beginning of many such matches which will help improving the sport as well as foster healthy relationship between the two countries. The match which featured the Handshake for Peace was played at Bangalore’s Football Stadium on a Football Turf provided by FIFA as part of the initiative ‘Win in India with India’. This Handshake for Peace is a joint campaign by FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center in Norway that combines the global reach of football with the simple gesture of a handshake to promote peace and fair play.

President Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Faisal Saleh Hayat said Pakistan versus India in any form of the game has been a source of great inspiration for both nations.

 “If we analyze the current football series, we can conclude that this is significantly vital because of its impact on the development of football in both countries due to a tradition of competitiveness,” he said. He said this friendly series also carries an opportunity for both teams to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2014 Asian Games.

 “At the same time the social aspect of this particular activity cannot be ignored as both nations shall definitely come closer and enhance their relations,” he said.