Khaleel welcomes Pakistan contingent to India

Bangalore: AIFF executive committee member A R Khaleel today welcomed the Pakistan delegation to the Garden City for the two U-23 friendly matches against India.

"I wholeheartedly welcome the Pakistan contingent to Bangalore for the friendly Series. I thank them for coming over to play in the Garden City," he said.

"We look forward to playing more often between us. I hope you enjoy your stay and have a wonderful time here," Khaleel told the Pakistan delegation.

Pakistan Football Federation`s marketing consultant Sardar Naveed Haider Khan, also the head of Pakistan`s delegation to India, said it`s a "great honour" to visit Bangalore.

"This is a very exciting moment in the history of sports in India and Pakistan. It was in 2005 that India visited Pakistan to play a bilateral Series but since then, we haven`t been able to play each other in another bilateral Series. This friendly series will help a lot in the promotion of football in the region. We hope to make friends, both on and off the field," he stated.

This is the first time that any Pakistan football team is visiting India to play in any bilateral series.

"I feel there is much need for more sporting interaction between the two countries. We eagerly await the arrival of the Indian senior women`s team in November for the 3rd Women`s SAFF Championship," Naveed said.

"We have been received well and haven`t faced any problems. I am very much thankful to Mr. Praful Patel and Mr. Kushal Das for their cooperation."

Greeting the Pakistan team, Indian captain Sunil Chhetri said, "Pakistan have always been a special team. I hope they enjoy their stay and matches during their stay in India."

Khaleel stressed the friendly Series may pave way "for more peace and harmony between the two countries."

"Sports has always helped people to bond among themselves. This is a historic moment for the history of Indian football. We eagerly look forward to the matches," he said.

Pakistan captain Md. Kaleemullah said they were "looking forward to play against India."

"It`s a privilege to be here. We are a young team which is being build keeping an eye on the future. We are confident of achieving a positive result."

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