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Two Pakistani footballers, Muhammad Sohail and Adeel Younus, faced a setback in their journey to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match against the Asian Cup finalists in Jordan due to passport issuance delays.

Reports indicate that left-back Muhammad Sohail, representing KRL, encountered difficulties as he applied for a visa at another embassy, resulting in a delay in obtaining his passport in time for travel to Jordan. Sohail, who made a substitute appearance in the home match against Jordan at Jinnah Stadium, was unable to join the team for the away fixture due to passport issues.

Similarly, Adeel Younus, who plays for Popo FC in Pakistan’s domestic circuit, faced obstacles as his passport was issued based on a B-Form, and he had recently turned 18. Consequently, Younus had to apply for a new passport and CNIC, as per Pakistani government regulations which require individuals to obtain a new passport and national identity card upon reaching the age of 18. This administrative process prevented Younus from traveling to Jordan for the away game, despite starting the match against Jordan in Islamabad.

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Administrative challenges have been a recurring issue in Pakistani football, whether concerning the delay in passport issuance for diaspora players like Adil Nabi and Etzaz Hussain or local talents such as Adeel Younus and Muhammad Sohail. The government of Pakistan, along with certain Pakistani embassies, has faced criticism for complicating matters for athletes instead of facilitating them. It is imperative for the government to streamline administrative procedures to ensure smooth participation of athletes in international competitions.

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