[Alam Zeb Safi, The News]
Monday, 24 October 2011.
KARACHI: National footballers are scheduled to assemble in Lahore on October 28 to kick start their preparations for the SAFF Championship but like in the past, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is yet to officially unveil the list of players invited for the camp.
It is not the first time that the authorities have failed to disclose the list of players in time as in the past too they have committed such blunders which look quite unprofessional on their part. They had also released the probables lists and the final squads quite late for this year’s major assignments including AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, Olympic qualifiers, World Cup qualifiers and then for the series against India scheduled in England in last August which was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
These administrative errors look quite awkward in this era of communication. There should be no excuse that the list is subject to approval of the PFF president as there are several ways to get his consent.
On the eve when Pakistan’s two-match series against India was cancelled, the PFF did not take pains to issue a brief press statement. The PFF, which is considered the third strong sports body in the country after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), should think about the importance of speedy handling of such sensitive issues.
Although the list of the 29 probables, which has already been sent by the coach to the PFF, is yet to be officially unveiled but in order to satisfy the football followers this correspondent has tried to collect the names from various sources. According to an unofficial list, there is no major surprise and mostly those players have been called up for the camp who had been picked for the series against India. England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmad, defender Atif Bashir and Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir are the only off-shore players in the list.
Following a strict warning issued by the coach that foreign-based players will not be considered if they failed to join the camp from the very first day of its start, their availability is not yet confirmed. The News has learnt through sources close to these players that Atif and Adnan will be available by November 20 while Hassan Bashir will be able to make it by November13. There is still a chance that the PFF will show some leniency in its stance if these players negotiate with them their case. But Hassan Bashir is yet to get his Pakistani passport.
England-based left-back Shabbir Khan and midfielder Amjad Iqbal were left stunned after being ignored for the much awaited event to be held in New Delhi from December2-12. Shabbir, also played last SAFF Cup in Dhaka in 2009, was called for the series against India while Amjad, also playing for Bradford Park Avenue FC, was out of Pakistan team for more than a year due to leg injury that he had developed after representing Pakistan in the last SAFF Cup.
Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) seasoned goalkeeper Ghulam Nabi has also been inserted into the list along with striker Jadeed Pathan who has been recalled after being ignored for World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh due to poor form. Jadeed had led Pakistan in the Olympic qualifiers against Malaysia and the two-match series against Palestine early this year and is in good form in the Premier League.
Few Under-19 boys including Aamir Siddiqui, Tanvir Mumtaz, Naveed Ahmad (Navy), Shehram Babar (Faisalabad), Junaid Qadir and Muzammil Hussain have also got the chance to train with their seniors.
Unofficial probables list: Mohammad Omar, Ghulam Nabi, Manzoor Ahmad, Alamgir Khan, Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Ahmad, Jadeed Khan Pathan, Syed Arif Hussain, Ansar Abbas, Mehmood Khan, Mohammad Aadil, Kaleemulalh, Saddam Hussain, Hassan Bashir, Adnan Ahmad, Atif Bashir, Jehangir Khan, Mohammad Rizwan Asif, Muzammil Hussain, Aamir Siddiqui, Tanveer Mumtaz, Sheram Babar, Naveed Ahmad, Junaid Qadir, Sadullah, Haji Mohammad, Mohammad Ikram, Karim Kerai, Hasnain Abbas.