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Pakistan play first match in three years following FIFA ban

The Pakistan national team played its first match in three and a half years on Tuesday, defeating Nepal with a stoppage time goal in the opening round of the SAFF Suzuki Cup.

FIFA banned the country from playing in 2015 after the Lahore High Court was forced to intervene to select a winner in the Pakistan Football Federation's (PFF) presidential election following allegations of vote rigging -- with Faisal Salah Hayat eventually being re-elected.

However, because the winner was chosen by someone other than the PFF, FIFA intervened, due to a ruling which prohibits "third party interference."

But FIFA confirmed in March that the ban -- which extended to club sides as well as the national team -- had been lifted after the PFF said it had regained control.

And, in their first match since a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with Yemen on March 23, 2015, they secured a 2-1 South Asian Football Federation Championship win over Nepal with Mohammad Ali Dabous scoring the winner six minutes into stoppage time.

Coach Jose Antonio Nogueira, a Brazilian, has said he has devised a plan which will see them become one of the continent's best sides.

"I have a good plan for Pakistan," Nogueira said. "To build football in Pakistan is very important.

"It stopped for a long time so now we need to start again. I'll stay in Pakistan for a minimum of three years to review the development of football and young players in order to turn them into a force in Asia."

Pakistan will face Bangladesh on Sept. 6 before ending their group with a game against Bhutan two days later.

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