KARACHI: Having played half their matches and sitting merrily at the top of the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) table, the KESC outfit has its eyes firmly set on the trophy.
The Karachi-based outfit is led by former national captain Muhammad Essa Khan who is carrying the added challenge of ensuring his team, undefeated this season, snatches the title from his former club KRL who he won with last season.
KESC have drawn just two of those eight, scoring the highest number of goals in the process and Muhamad Rasool is also top of the scorers’ list with five so far.
Essa has scored three and Muhammad Mussa along with Riaz Ahmed having netted twice for their team so far.
According to team manager Hasan Baloch, having Essa and Rasool in their squad this season has paid immediate dividends. The pair had their transfers prior to the start of the new season and signed contracts with KESC for Rs50,000 and Rs40,000 per month respectively.
The spending, however, is not going to stop here – the club has plans on buying Ayatuallah from Afghan FC this year, along with Abdul Rehman, who plays for the national under-21 side, as well.
“We were looking for seven acquisitions but the deadline prevented us from achieving that figure,” Essa told The Express Tribune. “For players, these transfers are helping and KESC is paying the most so there is no excuse for others not to join us.”
Similarly, according to Baloch, the aim for the coach and manager was to have a strong team where they do not have to rely on just one player and new signings was a way to do that.
Rasool, too, felt that KRL was ahead of KESC due to the quality of players they had but things ill change soon.
“They have the top footballers even now, the ones who are part of the national side so there is no comparison,” said Rasool. “Last year, KESC players just couldn’t gel but now we are a different team altogether. My aim is to score as many goals and this year the understanding is different as we are on a different level as a team.”
KESC has never won the PPFL and only got promoted to the top tier in 2005. Their best performance on the national club level has been in the National Challenge Cup where they lost to KRL on penalty shoot-out this March. A vast improvement from the fifth-place PPFL finish last season, however, is now on the cards.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2012.