KARACHI: With a five-month contract with Kyrgyzstan’s FC Dordoi, Kaleemullah wants to prove himself as Pakistan’s number one striker in the international circuit.
The 21-year-old from Chaman will be the second player from KRL to join FC Dordoi after f Muhammad Aadil.
He said that his goal is to gain as much experience as he can in his five-month stint with the Central Asian club.
“I have proved myself in Pakistan, and in these five months I want to emerge as the top player for FC Dordoi,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune.
“Aadil is already there and has told me that as a Pakistani footballer, he needed at least a month to reach the same standards as other players in FC Dordoi. Thus, I am going to give myself the same amount of time.”
The Chaman player will leave for Bishkek on March 1, while the overall training camp for FC Dordoi will begin in Turkey on March 5.
Kaleemullah changes focus to different play role
Kaleemullah has been a versatile player for Pakistan. He has played successfully as a top striker in the 2012-13 Pakistan Premier Football League season with 35 goals for KRL.
He also continued playing in defensive positions for the national squad, when Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic was the head coach with the Pakistan Football Federation.
But Kaleemullah is now focusing on being a better striker.
“Milosavljevic is coaching FC Dordoi now and I’ve told him beforehand that I want to be a striker,” said Kaleemullah. “I’ve always scored goals for the country and KRL. As a striker, I will be able to use my full potential. When I was used as a defender, I would get confused and it used to affect my game as the strategies are in contast.”
‘I want to test the water first’
Kaleemullah further stated that choosing five months over a year’s contract suited him better.
“I want to challenge myself and test the water first. But my loyalties remain with Pakistan. I’ll always be available for the national squad.”
Meanwhile, KRL coach Tariq Lutfi feels that Pakistan football has finally arrived at the international arena.
Lutfi stated that it was a proud moment not only for him but also for the sport in the country to have two of its players, Muhammad Aadil and now Kaleemullah performing in professional capacity abroad.
“It’s a great beginning and it all started when we reached the President’s Cup final,” said Lutfi. “As a club, KRL has a new role now. I need to find Aadil and Kaleemullah’s replacements, but it’s an inspiring thing for others. They would want to play for KRL now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2014.