KARACHI: Three-time Premier League winners Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) will fly out for Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok on September 20 to feature in the final round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup to be held at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka from September 23 to 29.
“we will depart for Kuala Lumpur on September 20 at 10:20 pm via Bangkok and will be in Malaysia by 12:15 pm next day,” KRL manager Ayaz Butt told ‘The News’ on Sunday.
KRL have been bracketed with former two-time champions Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan and Hilal Al-Quds of Palestine in Group B while Group A carries Balkan FC of Turkmenistan, Erchim FC of Mongolia and the 2005 semi-finalists Three Star Club of Nepal. KRL will play their opening match against Dordoi Bishkek, formerly known as Dordoi Dynamo, on September 23, followed by their last match against Hilal Al-Quds on September 27.
The 22-member side will be led by experienced defender Samar Ishaq, who also captained Pakistan in the SAFF Cup recently.
KRL, who won the Premier League title in 2009, 2011, 2012, are currently undergoing training at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi under coach Tariq Lutfi. As many as 11 players of the outfit were also part of the Pakistan team during the SAFF Cup of which six to seven were part of the playing XI which shows the strength of the team.
Ayaz Butt was also confident that his team would give their best in the finals.
“We have a strong side and will definitely get an advantage of the international experience of our players in Kuala Lumpur,” Butt said. However, he was quick to add that Dordoi were a strong side but he was optimistic that they would also be given tough time.
About their other opponents Hilal Al Quds of Palestine, Butt said that they had not seen them but if they were national champions of their own country then definitely they would be strong.
“What we have learnt is that we will have to play on the sort of a pitch having grass of large leaves. Here too we are practicing on that type of pitch. The weather in Kuala Lumpur is rainy and humid and here too we have got rainy weather and the pitch. And I think these things will help us in Malaysia,” Butt revealed.
Keeping in view the strength of his team Butt feels that it would be extremely bad luck if his side did not click.
“We would be extremely unfortunate if we did not click this time as we are strong side.”
Goalkeepers: Saqib Hanif, Tanveer Mumtaz, Mohammad Shahid Nabi, Defenders: Samar Ishaq (captain), Kamran Khan (vice-captain), Mohammad Shahid, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Hameed, Saddam Hussain, Mohammad Zeeshan, Midfielders: Bilawal-ur-Rehman, Mehmood Khan, Yasir Afridi, Zia-Us-Salam, Rizwan Asif, Mohammad Aadil, Mohammad Abid Khan, Saadullah, Dawood Khan, Strikers: Mohammad Qasim, Kaleem Ullah, Saeed Ahmed, Officials: Tariq Lutfi (head coach, Sajjad Mehmood (assistant coach), Ayaz Butt (manager), Mohammad Shahid (physiotherapist), Ali Zaidi (media officer).