As reported earlier by our friends over at Football Pakistan the friendlies set for October 12th and 16th have been cancelled. No reason for the cancellation was given. Initial speculation blamed the PFA’s tardiness in applying for visas. The Football Pakistan article also mentions Al-Am’ary’s involvement in the AFC President’s Cup Final as a possible factor for the cancellation but it is unlikely that that was a factor given that not a single Al-Am’ary player made Mahmoud’s squad.
A more likely reason is the PFF’s failure in securing a venue for the friendly- a result of an internal conflict between the sport’s governing body in Pakistan and the Punjab Sports Board.
With both matches falling on FIFA match days The Greenshirts had an opportunity to boost their FIFA ranking with a result in either match. Conversely, Palestine would not have gained any points regardless of the result and would have lost points had they failed to win both games.
Palestine is ranked 149th (22nd in Asia) in FIFA’s October ranking- their highest rank since August 2007. While Pakistan has slipped to 177th (35th in Asia) marking a steady decline since being ranked 156th in February 2010.