By Shahrukh Sohail, Islamabad Correspondent
Exclusive from the national training Camp in Islamabad
Pakistan faces Bangladesh in a two-legged qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with the first leg kicking off in Dhaka on the 29th of June.
One of the mostly hotly anticipated clashes in the recent history of Pakistani Football takes place at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, with the second leg in Lahore’s 10,000 capacity Punjab stadium.
The match itself promises to be a feisty affair, given the history of the two nations and the similar rankings they hold in the world table.
Pakistan are not in the best of form, as they crashed out of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers despite a 3-0 win over Chinese Taipei. Their preparations for the match are also not ideal due to have also been hampered by the cancellations of foreign tours but nonetheless the Green Kickers will have the boost of some quality players in their ranks. The likes of Adnan Ahmed, Zeeshan Rehman, Atif Bashir and Ahmed Akbar Khan will don Pakistan colours during the crucial game and will hopefully prove to be the difference between the arch rivals.
However the Bengal Tigers will not be without reinforcements of their own, as for the first time in their history, they have also called up a foreign based player for the National Team. Jamal Bhuyan from Denmark will be integral to his sides attack and his abilities will be put to the test against the defensive partnership of Zeeshan Rehman and Atif Bashir.
The defensive duo is the best, Pakistan can offer and their solidarity at the back is of utmost importance if we are to see the Green shirts in the next round.
Although the saying “Attackers wins matches, Defenders win Championships” is undoubtedly true. It will hardly have an effect on this cracking game, as it is an affair of only 180 minutes. So the Midfielders and Strikers will tip the balance in favour of either side, while Pakistan boast Adnan Ahmed and Ahmad Akbar Khan in midfield, their main strikers Muhammad Rasool and Arif Mehmood are well versed in their art. Adnan is particularly important, as he is of the famed Manchester United academy and could prove to be the match winner for his country.
But in the end, everything boils down to antics on the field. Will Pakistan finally get over their woes and gain a result? The answer will shortly be known, when thousands of fanatics take to the Stadiums for this epic occasion.