From THE NEWS
Karachi:Pakistan football team skipper Jaffar Khan has said that he has regained his fitness and is looking forward to the SAFF Cup, which will be hosted by Nepal in Kathmandu from September 1-11.
“I don’t feel any pain in my knee and am quite fit,” Jaffar told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Friday. “I have worked hard during the last few months and have never left my practice,” said the country’s experienced goalie.
Jaffar had developed a serious knee injury during a game of the Inter-Services Football tournament here at the Naval Sports Complex in March while leading Army.
At that time it looked that the star player would not be able to recover. He also skipped the National Challenge Cup held in Bahawalpur a couple of months ago.
But proper rest and care worked as he has joined Pakistan’s camp at Lahore for the SAFF Cup under the Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic. “I have been attending gym for the last three weeks without any break and feel healthy at the moment,” said the skipper.
About Pakistan’s SAFF Cup chances Jaffar said that he was hopeful of a positive display from his team. “You know we were a bit unlucky last time as we failed to qualify for the semi-finals in spite of the fact that we did not lose any game,” Jaffar recalled.
“The main reason was that we did not score goals. We will have to score goals if we are to perform in the tournament,” Jaffar said.
Pakistan will tour Bangladesh at the end of next week to play two friendlies, on August 13 and 16, before playing a friendly against Afghanistan in Kabul on August 20.
Pakistan have been placed with India, Nepal and Bangladesh for the SAFF Cup which is being considered a tough group by the experts.
Saqib Hanif and Muzammil Hussain are the other goalkeepers in the camp. Danish gloveman Yousuf Butt is also expected to be a part of the touring party.
Currently 19 local players are undergoing training for the SAFF Cup in Lahore while six foreign-based players are to join it.
Shehzad Anwar and Aslam Khan are in the support staff of Zavisa Mliosavlejvic.