By Alam Zeb Safi [The News]
KARACHI: With the inclusion of Yousuf Butt in Pakistan’s Olympic squad, questions have pooped up is the country’s footballing fraternity whether the Demnark-based goalkeeper will be able to emerge as a true successor to ace shot-stopper Jaffar Khan is wll past his prime.
The 6.62 feet tall goalie, who flew to Bangkok with the Pakistan team on Sunday night, has been deemed as a lucky find for the country at a right time. All those who have seen him in the net during the team’s training camp in Lahore, have thrown their weight behind him, acknowledging his calibre as an accomplished and intelligent gloveman.
Yousuf, who was unlucky not to be picked for the Asian Games last year after he failed to send his documents in time, has forced the team management to acknowledge his ability. “Yousuf is an intelligent goalie. His bringing up in Denmark and the playing environment he had there have made him a good gloveman,” Pakistan football team coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’ in an interview.
“He looks to be a balanced goalkeeper and has mastered his grip on the ball, diving, punching and the most importantly his communication with the rest of the team while standing in goal make him to be the right boy for the job.
“We included him in the squad after we were impressed with his uncanny ability as a goalkeeper. Our other goalkeeper Aamir Gul is also very good and well-groomed and I think both will compete with each other during the Thailand tour,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, an official of the PFF and former football coach, while wishing to be unnamed, has termed Yousuf’s inclusion as a welcome sign. “Besides other accomplishments, Yousuf has the habit to communicate with other teammates during the match. Our own goalkeepers don’t have that ability. He seems mentally matured and knows how to deliver,” the official said.“Pakistan is lucky to have got such a gloveman at a time when Jaffar Khan is showing signs of decline.”
Yousuf Butt has represented various clubs in Denmark. Also having a Canadian nationality, he is said to have been selected in the Canada Under-19 team a couple of years ago, only declining that offer since he wanted to represent Pakistan. Yousuf, who currently plays for Birker¯d IF Skjold in Denmark, used to play as a goalkeeper in Danish 1st Division for Hellerup Idraets Klub (HIK), a Danish sport club from Hellerup, Copenhagen. Born on October 18, 1989, Yousuf impressed his manager Hasse Kuhn who refers to him as a ‘future star’.