Saturday, July 20, 2024

PFF Overcomes Travel Challenges to Ensure Team Reaches Tajikistan

Islamabad, Pakistan – June 12, 2024 – The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) successfully managed to fly out its Players to Tajikistan for their crucial match, overcoming significant logistical and political hurdles.

Traveling from Pakistan to Tajikistan is rough and taxing because of various constraints. The volatile political situation and the region’s rugged terrain, including the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains being amongst them. The infrastructural limitations, notably the scarcity of direct flights, soared these issues. For instance, only one flight per week goes from Dubai to Tajikistan (Dushanbe). Despite the tricky situation, PFF showed steadfast commitment. They arranged three batch of flights for the total of 35 players because of insufficient resources from Pakistan to Tajikistan.

  1. June 7, 2024: The first group of 24 players was scheduled to travel from Faisalabad to Dubai and then to Dushanbe. Unfortunately, this flight was canceled due to a bird strike.
  2. June 7, 2024: The second group of 8 personnel successfully traveled from Islamabad to Karachi, then to Dubai, and finally to Dushanbe.
  3. June 9, 2024: The final group of 3 people followed the same route from Islamabad to Karachi, then to Dubai, and reached Dushanbe.

As a last-minute resort, PFF booked an 11-seater charter flight from Lahore to Dushanbe, scheduled to fly on June 10, 2024. However, this flight was also canceled at the last moment due to a mechanical issue.

Rana Mashood sitting on left side while Haroon Malik on right side

When all commercial options were exhausted, Haroon Malik (President of PFF) reached out to the Prime Minister’s office. With special permission, he facilitated an approach to the Army and the Air Force, securing an Air Force plane charter to ensure the team arrived on time. With only 11 members (9 players and 2 officials) in Dushanbe, this official intervention proved pivotal.

On June 11, 2024, thanks to the coordinated efforts of The Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force, the remaining members of the PFF contingent were flown to Tajikistan from Noor Khan Airbase, arriving approximately seven to eight hours before their match. They faced tremendous challenges in getting their team to Tajikistan, but the determination and incredible support from The Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Army and Air Force made it possible. The timely intervention ensured that the team could fly and compete as planned.

The Saudi vs Pakistan World Cup Fifa Qualifiers, scheduled for June 6, 2024, took place as planned in Islamabad. The next was scheduled for June 11, 2024 in Tajikistan. In this short span of five days and despite facing numerous challenges, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) upheld its commitment and demonstrated remarkable dedication to the Pakistani community. They managed to overcome all obstacles. This unwavering dedication positions the PFF to achieve significant advancements in the future growth and development of football in Pakistan.

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