Pakistan Television (PTV) Sports and Geo Super, being the only two sports channels in the country, were severely criticised across the social media for not giving any coverage to the SAFF Cup in which Pakistan national football team participated and reached the semi-final against India.
Pakistan, who stood second in Group A and faced Group B winner India, participated in the SAFF Cup hosted by Bangladesh and impressed the critics by making a mark in the cup after a long interval. The green shirts defeated Bhutan 3-0 and Nepal 2-1.
FootballPakistan.com, a group that promotes football in Pakistan, criticised the PTV for only showing highlights of old cricket and football World Cup matches while not covering any aspect of the national football team’s performance in the multilateral tournament.
It said, “Pakistan qualified for SAFF Cup semi-final for the first time in 13 years … (but) PTV Sports was busy showing repeat match from World Cup 2018.”
PTV Sports was busy showing repeat match from #WorldCup2018
His was the Pakistan First. https://t.co/zoYE6aPeYi
— FootballPakistan.com (@FootballPak) September 8, 2018
“Two sports channels in the country and both not interested in covering Pakistan vs India football semi-final,” it added.
Sports analyst Hassan Cheema wrote on Twitter, “Nothing encapsulates the state of our football better than the fact that while the national team is to play its biggest match in years both our sports channels are broadcasting player development programmes for two PSL franchises. Club cricket is bigger than national football here.”
Nothing encapsulates the state of our football better than the fact that while the national team is to play its biggest match in years both our sports channels are broadcasting Player Development Programs for two PSL franchises. Club cricket is bigger than national football here.
— Hassan Cheema (@mediagag) September 12, 2018
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) also received flak for not being able to promote football in the country. “The top problem with football in Pakistan is the mafia that controls PFF and hides behind FIFA’s non-interference rules,” said Twitter user Aqil Sajjad.
The top problem with football in Pak is the mafia that controls PFF & hides behind FIFA’s non-interference rules. The government has to find a way to break this mafia or nothing can be done to fix football. The other issue is lack of media coverage, especially by PTV
— Aqil Sajjad (@AqilSajjad) September 12, 2018
He suggested that “the government has to find a way to break this mafia or nothing can be done to fix football,” adding that the other issue is lack of media coverage, especially by PTV.
Abdur Rehman suggested that PTV should telecast this cup rather than showing highlights of different matches. People also made appeals to Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry to give the due coverage to football matches.
#SaffSuzukiCup2018 Well a great game played by Team Green.A great football to watch.Ptv sports must telecast this cup regardless of telecasting highlights of different matches
— ABDUR REHMAN (@abdur2838) September 12, 2018
Meanwhile, a number of national cricketers, including captain Sarfraz Ahmed, wished the football team good luck for their match against India.
Captain Pakistan Cricket team @SarfarazA_54 comes in support of Pakistan Football team, wishes them ahead of SAFF Championship semi final against India. Good to see Cricketers getting behind Pak Football team. #ComeOnPakShaheens pic.twitter.com/j52ajg5wkY
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) September 12, 2018