Karachi: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Football Association’s team had to pull out of the National Under-16 Football Championship after one of their defenders drowned in the canal which originates from Mangla Dam in Mirpur on Thursday evening. Tahir’s funeral was held on Friday, said mournful Muzaffar Noori, vice-president AJK Football Association, while talking to ‘The News’ from Mirpur. Tahir’s two teammates, Sheraz and Amjad, were rescued and shifted to the District Hospital Mirpur for treatment.“Sheraz and Amjad have regained consciousness and are in a slightly better condition,” Muzaffar said. The incident occurred after the team’s practice session in the evening on Thursday.
“Amjad was the first to fall into the canal. Tahir and Sheraz dived in to save him but due to high speed of the water they also failed to control themselves,” Muzaffar narrated. Luckily the local people watched them fighting for life and retrieved them from the deep waters of the Chechian canal which flows in great speed and is about 70 feet deep, he said. “Tahir was almost dead when he was retrieved,” said Muzaffar. “It was a tragic incident,” Muzaffar said.“The deceased Tahir, son of Arshad, was a new player and quite talented,” the official said.
After the tragic incident the team could not be sent to Abbottabad. Meanwhile, the draws of the National Under-16 Championship were held at the Kunj Stadium in Abbottabad on Friday.According to an official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), Islamabad team also failed to arrive. A source said that due to examination of the players the federal capital team was not sent for the tournament. The remaining eleven teams have been placed in four groups. Group A carries Punjab, Peshawar Youth and hosts Abbottabad, while Group B has Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi Youth. Balochistan, Lahore Youth and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been adjusted in Group C, while Group D comprises Sindh, Quetta Youth and Gilgit Baltistan. “All the teams have been lodged in good places and the tournament will kick off tomorrow,” a PFF official said. Balochistan will face FATA in the opening match to be held at 5:00pm on Saturday (today).
PFF Director Development and Competitions Wing Commander (retd) Pervez Saeed Mir and members of the Technical Study Group (TSG) have reached the city where the weather is quite pleasant and suitable for football. The Kunj Stadium where the event is being staged is located inside the city and is close to the Taj Mahal Hotel. The event is very important because the PFF will pick talented boys for forming the national Under-16 team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship Qualifiers to be hosted by Karachi in September.