Last month WAPDA and Pakistan International stars Naveed Akram and Mahmood Ali became the first Pakistani based footballers to play for a football club abroad in decades. They joined Nepali league newcomers Saraswoti Youth Club on a 2 month loan deal from Pakistan Premier League champions WAPDA.
One month on in their Nepali sojourn the two maestros have already helped SYC win two games and climb out of the relegation places which is the teams target for the season. They have received great praise and appreciation while playing for the young team and have truly made the football fraternity of Pakistan proud.
FootballPakistan.Com caught up with Naveed Akram after the game against Nepal Army and asked a few questions about his and Mehmood’s loan stint at Saroswati Youth Club Nepal.
FPDC: Hello Naveed, How is your stint in Nepal going?
Naveed: Thanks to Allah it is going really well and we are enjoying our stay here.
FPDC: How does it make you feel to know you are the first Pakistani’s to play abroad for decades?
Naveed: It makes us really proud and happy to be playing a league abroad and it is like a dream come true for us.
FPDC: How is your team Saroswati Youth Club?
Naveed: The team is very young and most of the players are under-21 or even below. That makes it tough and fun at the time that we have to mentor the youngsters too.
FPDC: Tell us about the Nepali league, how does it compare with the set-up we have here in Pakistan?
Naveed: Well there are a lot of sponsors in Nepali football and a great interest in fans who come to ground in large numbers after purchasing tickets. The games come live on television on Wednesdays and Saturday and there is immense coverage in the newspapers. The playing level is very good too and it is a good tough league.
FPDC: What are the targets for the season?
Naveed: Simply avoiding relegation from the league.
FPDC: How is Mehmood settling in?
Naveed: Mehmood is also performing really well and has found his magic touches in mid-field that is helping the team.
FPDC: Do you think you will be called back for next season?
Naveed: We are giving it our best and certainly believe that we will earn ourselves another offer for next season.
FPDC: Any message to your fans in Pakistan?
Naveed: I would like to thank our fans for supporting us so dearly. Pakistani football needs a lot of support. And do go and support Pakistan in the world cup qualifier against Bangladesh and support the guys to win.
FPDC: Thank you Naveed for your time.