The football fans of Pakistan were left in awe this weekend as it was announced that one of the most consistent and talented players in Pakistan, Rizwan Asif, was dropped from the squad to play Bangladesh in the WC qualifiers looming close.
The other big exclusion was of u-21 captain Jadeed Khan Pathan. And while Jadeed Khan’s lacklustre and lazy performances in the past few months deserved a boot, Rizwan’s performances were anything but.
The 21 year old Narowal born star is widely renowned as a work-house with excellent dribbling, tracking and passing skills, Rizwan impressed against both double headers against Malaysia and Palestine in March/April after performing amicably down the right wing in the Asian Games last November. He created chance after chance in the game against Malaysia only to see the other forwards squander the opportunities. His chance in the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal came against Chinese Taipei with that being the only game that Pakistan won at the event. He also scored 3 goals and assisted amicably as KRL won the NFCC at Faisalabad in April, playing and dazzling at either wing, his three goals coming while playing as a supporting striker in the first two games.
What led to his exclusion is yet unknown. What his inclusion though would’ve guaranteed is a very good winger who tracks back and can terrorize the opponent full-back with his flare, and someone who is also an excellent supporting striker who could come off the bench to make an impact.
Amazing to note that one other player at his position kept in camp hasn’t scored a single goal in his international career having played close to a dozen games now. Such are the double standards.
While the National Team prepares for the World Cup Qualifiers, Rizwan Asif goes back to train with Lutfi’s KRL to prepare for the PPL having joined the growing list of out-casts from our team that include Yasir Afridi, Yousuf Butt, Irfan Khan. But what is certain is that no-one can cite a lack of ‘commitment’ from Rizwan’s side as he is widely praised for putting everything on the line for his team, playing the second half against Malaysia in Lahore with a bad ankle injury and not letting anyone but the management notice is a testament.