Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s departure for Palestine may be delayed as the organisers have delayed the Al-Nakba International Football tournament for around ten days, a highly reliable source told ‘The News’ on Sunday.
“The tournament has been delayed till May 10 as the organisers have been facing some problem in obtaining the NOC from Israel,” the source said.
Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) secretary Col Ahmned Yar Lodhi also told this correspondent that the tournament might be delayed for a few days. “Due to the problem with Israel, the organisers may extend the dates of the competitions. The situation will become clear in the next couple of days,” Lodhi said.
The tournament was scheduled to be held from May 1-15. Now it may be held from May 10 to 24.
Pakistan team was scheduled to fly for Palestine on May 1.
The players are currently undergoing training at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore under the supervision of coach Mohammed Shamlan. He is being assisted by Asghar Anjum, former international defender Tanvir Ahmed and goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan.
The team is scheduled to play a practice match on April 26 in Lahore against the Premier League champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) who are preparing for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup first round to be held in Colombo from May 7-11.
AFC Licence B coach and National Bank’s defender Mehmood Khan is also observing the training sessions to enrich his coaching knowledge.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa is expected to join the camp in the next few days.
The basic purpose behind the camp and the Palestine tour is to prepare Pakistan for the Asian Games, which will be held in Incheon in South Korea from September 19 to October 4.
The delay in the Al-Nakba tournament may help KRL as the PFF may release two of their top players, Saddam Hussain and Bilawal-ur-Rehman.
In the absence of Mohammad Adil and Kaleemullah, KRL faced a real blow when they were also deprived of Saddam and Bilawal due to the national duty.
If KRL qualify for the final, six-team round of the President’s Cup, they will become eligible to play the AFC Cup play-offs.