Sunday, May 13, 2012
KARACHI: Pakistan Under-22 football team was scheduled to leave for Palestine in the wee hours of Sunday (today) to feature in the Al-Nakba International Football tournament to be held at different venues there from May 13-24.
The 22-member team will be led by KRL striker Kaleemullah while NBP’s Faisal Iqbal will serve as his deputy.
Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic is confident that his team is capable enough to spring surprise. “Although I cannot predict what performance we will be able to produce in the tournament I believe that our team is good enough to spring surprise,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ on Saturday. “We could not practise hard due to short time and nine of our players were playing for KRL at the AFC President’s Cup. We mostly focused on technical and tactical aspects as the team is still passing through the preparatory phase ahead of the Asian Cup Qualifiers to be held in June-July in Saudi Arabia,” the coach said.
He added that the Palestine tour would definitely help the team learn before its major target in Saudi Arabia. “You know, such international events are absolutely necessary for preparing the team for any major cause and I hope that in Palestine we will face different teams of diverse strength which will help the side prepare for Asian Cup Qualifiers,” he said.
He said that after the Palestine tour, the players would be given three or four days’ rest and then the final camp would be held in Lahore, which would continue till the team’s departure for Saudi Arabia.
The event in Palestine will be held under round robin system and the top 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 conducted on May 23.
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 the Faisal Husseini Stadium, Palestine at Dura Stadium on May 16 and Vietnam at the Majed Asad Stadium on May 18.
Squad: Saqib Hanif, Muzammil Hussain, Tanvir Mumtaz, Manzoor Ahmad, Faisal Iqbal, Naveed Ahmad, Mohammad Usman, Ihsanullah, Saddam Hussain, Mohammad Aadil, Sheram Babar, Kaleemullah, Mehmood Khan, Sher Muhammad, Junaid Qadir, Bilawal-ur-Rehman, Imran Ali Khan, Afzal Salam, Mohammad bin Younis, Zakir Lashari, Usama Halim, Aamir Siddiqui. Reserves: Mohsin Ali.
Officials: Zavisa Milosavljevic (head coach/manager), Nasir Ismail (assistant coach), Aslam Khan (goalkeeping coach), Dr Kamran Mehdi (physiotherapist), Saeed Khan (Chief-de-Mission, former IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).