KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has great expectations from the national team, which will be playing the Al-Nakba International Tournament in Palestine next month.
PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said that May will be a big month for Pakistan football as the national team will compete against Palestine, Iraq, Bangladesh, Jordan and Sri Lanka, while KRL will be playing their first round of the President’s Cup in Sri Lanka.
The two sides will be competing in a practice match on Saturday in Lahore. Lodhi said he is satisfied with the national team’s preparations.
“It’s going to be a good practice match for both sides,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “Our coach, Mohamed Shamlan, has been working very hard with the team. It’s a young team, but that is the best way to go.
“Shamlan is investing heavily in the youth. I’m hopeful that our team will give a tough competition to their opponents in Palestine.”
Meanwhile, Lodhi said that he is personally watching the squad practicing for the tour.
“I’m positive about the team’s form. They’ll be playing two or three more matches once they reach Palestine,” he said. “We’ll see if they can perform in the games or not.”
On the other hand, KRL coach Tariq Lutfi has repeatedly stated that his side is not the same without key strikers Kaleemullah and Muhammd Adil, who have left for Kyrgyzstan’s FC Dordoi.
KRL will also have to sacrifice two of their players, Saddam Hussain and Bilawalur Rehman, to the national side.
However, Lodhi said that KRL should continue playing their game and national coach Shamlan understands they are not at full strength.
“We usually have seven or eight players from KRL each time, but Shamlan has only kept Bilawal and Saddam,” said Lodhi. “We’ve also spoken to Kaleemullah and Adil. Their season with FC Dordoi is finishing on May 7 and our team will leave for Palestine on May 8. They can join us then.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2014.