KARACHI: Pakistan have been placed in Group A with the hosts Palestine, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, according to the draws unveiled by the Palestine Football Association for the Al-Nakba International Football tournament penciled in for May 13-24 at different venues in Palestine.
Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Iraq/Kurdistan have been adjusted in Group B while Tunisia, Jordon and Mauritania have been bracketed in Group C.
Pakistan are sending their Under-22 team for the competitions in order to prepare it for the Asian Cup Qualifiers to be held in Saudi Arabia from June 23 to July 3.
The event will be held under round robin system and a leading team from each group and the best second placed side from the three groups will make it to the semifinals to be held on May 21. The final will be played on May 23.
This is the second time that the PFA is organising the event with the assistance of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The matches will be held at the Faisal Husseini Stadium, Alram, Nablus Municipal Stadium, Nablus, Majed Asad Stadium, Albireh, Alhussein Ben Ali Stadium, Hebron, and Dura Stadium, Dura.
Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in their opener on May 14 at Faisal Husseini Stadium. Before this match, the opening game of the ten-team affair will be conducted at the same venue between hosts Palestine and Vietnam.
Pakistan will be pitted against Palestine at Dura Stadium on May 16, followed by their last group game against Vietnam at the Majed Asad Stadium on May 18.
The first edition of the tournament was held in May 2011 which was graced by the world football governing body (FIFA) president Sepp Blatter. Sixteen teams had shown their in that event, which was won by the Bulgarian’s Tshevell after beating Jerusalemite Hilal in the final.
This year the tournament was elevated to international level as national teams are taking part under the motto “Palestine from Nakba to Statehood”.
Prince Ali Ben Alhussein, vice-president of FIFA, will also grace the occasion.
A 23-member Pakistan team will proceed to Palestine in the early hours of Sunday next via Abu Dhabi and after landing in Jordon they will move to Palestine by road.
Pakistani boys are currently undergoing training at the City School Ground in Lahore under the watch of Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic. He is being assisted by Nasir Ismail and Aslam Khan.
Fixtures: Group A: May 14: Palestine v Vietnam, Pakistan v Sri Lanka (Faisal Husseini Stadium), May 16: Pakistan v Palestine (Dura Stadium), Vietnam v Sri Lanka (Nablus), May 18: Palestine v Sri Lanka (Hebron), Pakistan v Vietnam (Majed Asad),
Group B: May 15: Iraq-Kurdistan v Uzbekistan (Hebron), May 17: Uzbekistan v Indonesia (Nablus), May 19: Indonesia v Kurdistan/Iraq (Dura),
Group C: May 15: Tunisia v Mauritania (Nablus), May 17: Jordon v Mauritania (Majed Asad Stadium), May 19: Tunisia v Jordon (Faisal Husseini Stadium),
Semifinals: May 21 at Hebron and Faisal Husseini Stadium,
May 23: Final and 3rd place play-off at Dura Stadium.
From: The News