By Natasha Raheel – Tribune
KARACHI: The Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions KRL will begin their Asian Football Federation (AFC) President’s Cup 2013 campaign today in Malacca, Malaysia.
They will play their opening Group B match against a tough opposition, Kyrgyzstan’s FC Dordoi. The third team in the group is Palestine’s Hilal al-Quds FC.
Group A comprises of Balkan FC, Erchim FC and Three Star FC and the top team from each group will qualify for the final.
Earlier in May, KRL put up a gutsy performance when they drew their first-round opener with FC Dordoi 1-1 in Group B of the tournament.
Coach Tariq Lutfi will have his eyes set on clinching at least two wins to make KRL the first Pakistan team to qualify for the AFC President’s Cup final.
KRL had a good run in the first stage when they thrashed Bhutan’s Yeezdin FC 8-0 and hosts Philippines’s Global FC 2-0 in the first round.
Striker Kaleemullah is the second highest goal scorer in the tournament so far with five goals in three matches behind FC Dordoi’s Mirlan Murzaev, who has nine.
Kaleemullah believes his presence, along with captain Samar Ishaq, will benefit the team as their experience from the recently concluded South Asian Football Federation (Saff) Championship could prove vital.
“The Saff experience has helped me immensely and that will prove beneficial for us in the President’s Cup,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune.
“I’ve learnt more techniques. I want to score more for the team and qualify for the final. We have been in good form and I’m hopeful that we can win the President’s Cup this year. Our performance in the second round will be better than the first one.”
KRL will begin their Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) campaign next month.
NBP suffer shock defeat in PPFL
HBL broke NBP’s undefeated run the PPFL with a 1-0 win in Karachi yesterday.
Striker Khyal Muhammad scored the winner in the 42nd minute to hand HBL their second win of the season and NBP’s first defeat. Despite the loss, NBP clung on to third position while HBL climbed to seventh place with seven points after six matches.
In Lahore, Army drew 1-1 against ZTBL at the Model Town Stadium. Army scored an own goal in the 15th minute.
However, striker Sadaf Iqbal saved the team from the first defeat of the season when he equalised the score in the 42nd minute of the match.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.