Pakistan has a rich history in the world of sports. Pakistan has multiple accolades in Cricket, Hockey, Squash, and Snooker. But Football in Pakistan has been a lacklustre sport on International level. The recent progress in Football brings positive vibes for the people of Pakistan as the Pakistan team will play its first Football World Cup qualifier. A brief history of Football, along with the details of the upcoming football World Cup, will give a glimpse of the future of Football in Pakistan.
History of Football in Pakistan
Like other sports, Cricket, field hockey, and squash, Pakistan has failed to produce winning results in Football. It can be due to the lack of interest of Pakistani people in Football. The history of Football in Pakistan goes back to the early 1950s era. Pakistan had a decent team of Football in 1950-60. But after odd circumstances, the growth of Football declined. Football could not get the proper infrastructure, which resulted in a lack of players for the team.
The backstage politics and lack of money are the significant issues behind the lack of progress for Football in Pakistan. Pakistan also got suspended by FIFA just like Suspension of Football in Catalonia due to Government interference. From 1950 to 1989, Pakistan played a total of 113 matches. Pakistan won 34 out of these 113 matches. Pakistan has won only 9 games in the last decade. However, a few serious steps have been taken to develop the sports in recent years after some top players emerged from the Liari Area of Karachi.
First World Cup Qualifier in the History of Football in Pakistan
After a little development in infrastructure and the appointment of a foreign coach, the team became good. The recent developments change the history of Football in Pakistan as the team will play its first qualifier. Pakistan is now going to play World Cup qualifiers. Pakistan reached the World Cup 2nd round of qualifiers for the first time in the history of the World Cup. Pakistan beat Cambodia 1-0 in Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad. The victory over Cambodia has upgraded the ranking of the Pakistan football team.
Pakistan football jumped from 197 positions to 193. It is a major achievement to promote Football in Pakistan. FIFA World Cup 2026 will be held in America, Canada, and Mexico. A total of 48 teams will participate in the mega event. From this, eight teams will qualify from Asia. The number of Asian teams is double in this tournament compared to the last World Cup 2022.
Pakistan VS Saudi Arabia
The first match is tough for Pakistan because Saudi Arabia is the most prominent side of Asia in Football. Saudi Arabia played a total of 6 World Cups. They have a pretty good record in the FIFA World Cup. In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Saudi Arabia played a round of 16. In their last World Cup in 2022, they won against Argentina, the champion side of FIFA World Cup 2022. But Pakistan has momentum from the previous match. They want to keep this momentum and produce good results on match day. A win here will allow the youth to take Football in Pakistan seriously.
Looking at the teams, Saudi Arabia is the winner, but Pakistan will fight hard because many players have played for English clubs, which is a very positive point for Pakistan. Pakistan has nothing to lose, which means they will be out of pressure and can achieve something bigger for Football in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has a home advantage.
Saudi Arabia: 89%
Pakistan VS Tajikistan
Tajikistan is an excellent Asian team but has never played in the FIFA World Cup. They fell short of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after winning against Myanmar. But Tajikistan has won its last 2 games, and they have good momentum, which is very important for Tajikistan. They will play against Pakistan on 21st November. This game is very important for Football in Pakistan. This match will become very interesting if Pakistan wins against Saudi Arabia.
Tajikistan has a very good record in international Football, but they have never played FIFA World Cup. So, they will keep an eye on fixing their spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. But Pakistan must do their best to win this qualifying round and play in the FIFA World Cup 2026. A win here will boost Football in Pakistan to a much higher level.