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Football: Pakistan to tour India

Pakistan's football team are set to tour India for a two-match series, officials said Thursday, as the two nations resume their rivalry after a nine-year hiatus.

KARACHI: Pakistan's football team are set to tour India for a two-match series, officials said Thursday, as the two nations resume their rivalry after a nine-year hiatus. The last time the two sides met was in 2005 when India toured Pakistan for a three-match series which ended with one match apiece and a draw, though the hosts scored more goals.

Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said the team will play both matches in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. "We have been making all-out efforts to revive football ties with India and hope that these matches will prove to be a landmark in the sports relations of the two countries," Lodhi told AFP.

Pakistan team will visit India from August 16 to 21 and play matches on August 17 and 20 in Bangalore.

India cut all bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan in the wake of 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were carried out by Pakistan-based militants. The PFF attempted to play against India in England in 2011 but the plan was shelved after sponsors backed out.

A triangular series in England, involving India, Pakistan and Bangladesh was also cancelled last year due to lack of funds.

When India toured Pakistan the first match at Quetta ended in a 1-1 draw while India went in front with a 1-0 victory in Peshawar. Pakistan won the third and final match Lahore 3-0, taking the series on better goal average.

India, a cricket mad country, has shown greater interest in football after introducing the Super Football League to be held in September this year. They will also hold the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017, targeting a big youth population to get inspired from the world event.

But both India and Pakistan lag at the bottom of the FIFA team rankings released after the World Cup in Brazil this week. India are 151 in the world while Pakistan languishes at 165.

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