PSL 2024 PSL Schedule PSL Points Table PSL Live Streaming Latest News Cricket Football Hockey Combat Sports E-Sports Other Sports

Proper Football League or We Walk Away – Where Does It End?

Normally, you’d get to see a lot of opinions and a relentless stream of criticism directed towards an industry. There would be people clamoring for their opinions to be heard and there would be regular debate over which industry practice offers the most. However such debates and sometimes heated conversations are reserved for industries that are providing something substantial value to the masses.

It’s normal practice and happens everywhere in the world.

However, when it comes to football in Pakistan, it literally makes no sense when proponents of one unproven and untested hypothesis go to extreme lengths to disprove proponents of another unproven and untested hypothesis. Such is football in Pakistan.

It’s a game that has struggled to stay on the map for aeons yet stakeholders fight for it with the vigour and passion of a business that offers a higher output.

Before we begin, let’s be perfectly honest. Football in Pakistan is nowhere near an established industry.

We have a league that happens every now and then and when it happens, it doesn’t really get a lot of attention due to an acute absence of people who rely on their creativity to make a pebble look interesting.

We have a history of the football federation never getting things right and always squabbling like hyenas would during extreme summers over a piece of bone with no marrow. So in the midst of all this, we get to have a group of investors who announced the launch of a football league modelled around the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) arrived at the scene some two years ago and paraded Michael Owen around Lyari with the former England international giving the project his blessing (bought by a decent contract of course). There was a talent drive across Pakistan and shortlisted kids were expected to leave for Ireland and train with Saint Patrick’s. We’ll get to that in a bit but before that, let’s talk about the second coming of GSV and the PFL.

Recently, the company’s head honchos, Zabe Khan and Ahmer Kanwar outlined the return of the league and revealed that the league will start in November. A closed league, just like the one you get to see in India and North America, the PFL will see six cities fight it out in a more glamorous light.

This hasn’t been done before in Pakistan so definitely something we can all get behind. But wait!

The footballing community is divided at the moment. Some want the league to go through and the rest are still hoping for a football league that runs for 8 to 9 months because apparently, that is what’s needed.

And yes, having a league that runs for months and not weeks is what is needed to bring the game back to life. However, as things stand, we don’t really have a lot of options. If a league of such nature happens, it will not only require substantial capital but also would need a regular government inside the PFF house.

For all his confident demeanour and masked eagerness to be at the centre of whatever good Pakistan football hopes to achieve in the future, Haroon Malik cannot set up a league on his own while being in power on an interim basis.

And this is where maybe GSV/PFL comes in. While the league is expected to last a little over six weeks, at least it would allow the local players some much-needed football activity and help them make a good amount of money.

GSV has outlined some really ambitious plans but then again, we have been here before.

Players who were promised a trip to Ireland, are still waiting to be contacted while former Republic of Ireland manager, Brian Kerr, did sound crestfallen when asked about the no-show. Kerr, who was in Pakistan for the aforementioned tryout, was eager to help the younger players develop further. To date, we have not heard any explanation from GSV officials which truth be told, is a red flag.

The league was expected to start two years ago but with the country’s political landscape in a state of flux, plans were shelved.

One does feel that this could be GSV’s last chance to stay relevant in Pakistan’s football circles and if they end up dropping the ball again, it will not only impact their reputation, but it will also severely impact the country’s football future and undo all the hard work done by many individuals and small organizations in recent years. And that would be totally unacceptable.

In a country like Pakistan, where football was never given a chance to grow, the PFL could be the start of something but the onus is now on them to come good on their words and grant themselves an audience with the naysayers.

Is a franchise league the right step or is an eight to nine-month league what is needed?  For something that has never been done before, there is no right answer because no one knows. There is no right answer.

So for now, perhaps the right way would be to give GSV a second chance, knowing that if they’re unable to launch the league this time around, they probably won’t be able to do so in future. Sounds fair right?

About the AuthorTaimoor Khan

Taimoor is a football consultant with experience in working with teams and management agencies in North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. You can reach out to him at [email protected].

Get Alerts

Follow ProPakistani to get latest news and updates.

ProPakistani Community

Join the groups below to get latest news and updates.