KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) will be desperately looking to draw the first blood when they lock horns with Mongolia’s Erchim FC in their Group A opener of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday (today).
The match starts at 8:00pm and will be telecast live. KRL coach Tariq Lutfi said that his side would try their best to win their opening game. “We are ready for the crucial showdown and will try our best to draw the first blood,” Lutfi told ‘The News’.
KRL, 2011 league and 2012 national cup champions, are the strongest team of the country, as almost all of their players have played for Pakistan.
This is the second time that KRL are featuring in the President’s Cup. They took part in the third-tier continental club slots in 2010 held in Myanmar but failed to qualify for the semifinals. After beating Naga Corp of Cambodia 2-1, KRL lost to Tajikistan’s Vakhsh Qurghonteppa 0-1 and went down against Renown Sports Club of Sri Lanka 1-2.
WAPDA are the only Pakistani club to have qualified for the semifinals of the event — in the 2009 edition at the Dashrath Stadium in Nepal. The group A competitions have been reduced to just three teams after Bangladesh’s Sheikh Jamal Football Club withdrew last month due to security fears.
Meanwhile, Mongolian coach Batnasan said that his team could produce surprise against the hosts. “KRL are a good team and will also have home advantage but we are ready to spring surprise tomorrow,” Batnasan told a press conference at the FIFA Football House in Lahore on Monday.
Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power Company are the third team. They arrived on Sunday night and their coach Chen Knei Jen has said that they would defend the title. “We have come here to play with positive frame of mind and all our eyes on retaining the title,” he said.
“Although KRL are a good side, our game with them will be interesting,” added Chen flanked by captain Kno Yin Hung. Taiwan Power Company will play their first match on May 10 against Mongolia’s Erchim FC.
Two teams from the group will make it to the final round. About security, Chen said that there were news circulating abroad that Pakistan had security problems. He added that if the event turned out to be a successful one it would help the country persuade foreign nations to visit for international events.
After Bangladesh’s club withdrawal, Taiwan Power Company had also shown security fears to the AFC but the holders were convinced by the continental body after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) assured their players of top security cover. Taiwan Power Company defeated Cambodia’s Phonm FC 3-2 in the final last year to win the crown.
AFC President’s Cup-2012 Group “A”
Participating Team Official & Captain List
Mongolian (Erchim FC Team’s Official)
Mr. Batnasan (Cocah)
Mr. Enkhjargal (Captain)
Mr. Chuka (Traslator)
Chinese Taipei (Taipower FC Team’s Official)
Mr. Chen Knei Jen (Head Coach)
Mr. Kno Yin Hung (Captain)
Mr. Wn Ming Hsein (Physiotherapist)
Pakistan (KRL FC Team’s Official)
Mr. U.F. Tariq Lutfi (Head Coach)
Mr. Muhammad Ayyaz Butt (Team Manager)
Mr. Samar Ishaq (Captain)
Mr. Muhammad Shahid (Physio)