By Umaid Wasim – DAWN
KARACHI: His role model is Carlos Tevez. He tries to play like the Argentine. Now he hopes to be a winner like the celebrated Juventus striker.
Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) wing wizard Mohammad Adil left for Malaysia on Friday with just one thing on the mind: win the AFC President’s Cup with the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions.
Winning it would ultimately help him realize his life-long ambition — to play in a foreign league.
“This is a big opportunity for me to get noticed by Asia’s top clubs,” Adil told Dawn on the eve of KRL’s departure. “I already have an offer from Nepal so if we win and I perform well, maybe an offer could come from a bigger club.”
The 21-year-old is mulling an offer from Nepalese top division side Macchindra FC but his first priority is to do well for KRL in the Malaysian state of Malacca which will host the finals of Asia’s third-tier club competition.
KRL face Kyrgyz champions Dordoi Bishkek and Palestine side Hilal Al-Quds in Group ‘B’ with the group winners advancing to the final.
And KRL head-coach Tariq Lutfi is expecting Adil to deliver as they look to advance to the final.
“Adil is an exceptional winger and a vital component of our side,” Lutfi told Dawn. “He has great acceleration and a good shot on him but what he needs to work on is his vision.”
“Sometimes I don’t try a shot on goal when I’m in a good position and I’m working on it with the coach,” he said. “Other times I try to do too much with ball and that’s what I’ve improved upon.
“Hopefully I will show that in Malaysia.”
He’s already created quite an impression in South Asia and now he wants the rest of the continent to stand up and take note.
At the SAFF Championship earlier this month in Kathmandu, Adil was the heartbeat for Pakistan in their campaign that ended in the group stage.
The incombustible midfield powerhouse drifted wings, came through the centre and created some glorious opportunities for the national team’s front-men.
“There is no greater delight than to thread the perfect through-ball or to deliver a well-floated cross to the strikers to score,” he said. “As a midfielder, that’s my job.”
Against India, Adil was a delight to watch as he reduced full-back Nallapan Mohanraj to shreds with his pace and tenacity in a performance praised by their Dutch coach Wim Koevearmans.
“He came to me and told me that I reminded him of Tevez,” Adil informed. “There is no greater compliment than that for me.”
Born in Bahawalpur and a product of KRL’s youth academy, Adil has been inspired by Tevez ever since he started playing football.
“He [Tevez] is the perfect player. He has endless barrels of stamina and he has great willingness to fight for the team’s cause,” the stocky Adil said.
Despite Adil’s performance against India, Pakistan lost 1-0.
In their following games against Nepal and Bangladesh, Adil showed only a few flashes of brilliance. The stir he caused in the first match had been reduced to barely a ripple.
Those were frustrating moments for the youngster.
“After the opening game, Nepal and Bangladesh had seen me so they employed two players on me to restrict my movement into the centre from the wing.
“In the second game [a 1-1 draw against Nepal], our team decided to sit back and protect the lead.
“But I’ve learnt from that and have been practicing on better techniques to evade my marker.”
Now it’s time for Adil to make his mark.
“I hope we get the slice of luck we need to win the President’s Cup,” he said. “Then, I can help the team defend the PPFL title and if something better doesn’t come up, probably join Macchindra next year for Nepal’s Martyr Memorial A-Division League.”