The power of football to bring people together took centre stage as the U-23 national teams of India and Pakistan featured the Handshake for Peace in today's friendly match.
“Pakistan versus India in any form of the game has been a source of great inspiration for both nations,” said Syed Hayat, the President of the Pakistan FA. “If we analyse the current football series, we can conclude that this is significantly vital because of its impact on the development of football in both countries due to a tradition of competitiveness.”
“This friendly series also carries an opportunity for both teams to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2014 Asian Games. At the same time the social aspect of this particular activity cannot be ignored as both nations shall definitely come closer and enhance their relations.”
The match which featured the Handshake for Peace was played at Bangalore’s Football Stadium on a Football Turf provided by FIFA as part of the initiative 'Win in India with India'.
“It is historic that for the first time the U-23 football teams of India and Pakistan have played a two-match series. I am sure such a momentous occasion will go a long way in promoting friendship and goodwill amongst the two countries,” commented the President of the All India Football Federation, Praful Patel.
“This series was very competitive and exciting and I hope this is the beginning of many such matches which will help improving the sport as well as foster healthy relationship between the two countries.”
Both teams had reason to cheer. India won the first game 1-0 on Sunday 17 August, while Pakistan won the second 2-0 on Wednesday 20 August. The matches, the first meetings between the two sides for nine years, were played in an excellent spirit.
This Handshake for Peace is a joint campaign by FIFA and the Nobel Peace Center in Norway that combines the global reach of football with the simple gesture of a handshake to promote peace and fair play.