Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Three-time Premier League winners Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) left for Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok on Friday night 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.
KRL coach Tariq Lutfi was confident that his team would perform well in the finals. “The players are motivated and eager to perform well,” Lutfi told ‘The News’ on Friday while on his way to the Islamabad Airport. “All our key players who came from Pakistan duty underwent training with the rest of the lot during the last few days and are in great shape,” said Lutfi.
He said that they did not play any practice match, but it would not affect the team’s performance. “When we reach Kuala Lumpur, we will have some practice there before our first tie against Dordoi,” said Lutfi.
KRL have been bracketed with two-time champions Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan and Hilal Al-Quds of Palestine in the Group B.
The 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 top team from each group will qualify for the final which will be held on September 29.
The 22-member KRL side will be led by experienced defender Samar Ishaq, who also captained Pakistan in the SAFF Cup in Kathmandu recently. International defender Kamran Khan will be his deputy.
Squad: 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, Ayaz Butt (manager), Mohammad Shahid (physiotherapist), Ali Zaidi (media officer).