London: The upcoming Indo-Pak football friendly in UK has generated quite a buzz here, with star England and Manchester United defender terming it a major breakthrough for the sub-continental rivals.
"I am welcoming the India and Pakistan teams to the home of football," said Ferdinand. "This is a major breakthrough for both the nations and I hope to see myself in India and Pakistan soon," the defender added.
Billed as the 'Clash of the Titans', the Asian sub-continent's most powerful sides will meet on September 3 at the Pride Park Ground, Derby.
The match has received support from famous sportspersons in England. "Football is one of the most popular sports amongst the Asian community in Britain and this match will prove to be very successful because of that," said WBA and IBF light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan.
"I'm sure these matches will also be very beneficial for relations between the two countries because sport plays an important role in helping to unify people," he added.
The presidents of the respective associations hailed the match as a crucial step in their respective development. "Playing Pakistan is always special. I'm sure all sporting fans are eagerly looking forward to it," said AIFF chief Praful Patel.
Pakistan Football Federation president, Makhdoom Faisal said, "This match will definitely go a long way in promoting bilateral relations between the two countries. I wish everyone best of luck."
The English FA also backed this match to increase participation from the Asian community. "I am really pleased to support this match which opens doors for aspiring Asian footballers in England giving them sense of national pride," said FA spokesperson Jonathan Mills.