Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor, Islamabad
The system in Pakistani football is far from perfect. But in Islamabad, Murtaza Hussain proved to be a glaring example of someone who worked hard and got selected by a major Pakistani club.
Murtaza, who is widely known as the best player in Islamabad, spent his entire career at Islamabad A-League outfit Mehran FC but a dream run with the HEC team in the PFF League alerted a number of departments to his abilities.
“I have only played for Mehran FC during my football career. But KRL signed me in June after watching me play in the PFF League,” Murtaza was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with FootballPakistan.com
And for the youngster, making the switch from local kick-about leagues to the reigning Pakistan Premier League champions was clearly a big change in environment.
“There is a huge difference. KRL is a much, much more professional setup. The training is technical and of a high intensity, the coaches are excellent and the players are given individual attention so that they can be groomed even further,” added the striker.
Budding players are always looking to move up a notch and play professionally, and according to Murtaza any player performing well in Islamabad’s leagues is always on the radar of departmental sides particularly KRL, who sign them if they are sufficiently impressed.
“Any player that performs at local level, especially in Islamabad, will be signed by KRL or any other department. There are not a lot of opportunities, but if a player plays in the local league or a big tournament, they will be signed by a Pakistan Premier League side,” he claimed.
Although he didn’t play in the National Challenge Cup earlier this year, Murtaza was in KRL’s squad that took part in the AFC Presidents Cup in Sri Lanka; a level of football which the talented forward never saw before.
“This was my first International event and our team was great. The atmosphere I witnessed was superb, it was just another level of football and I was really impressed.”
While the Rawalpindi outfit did not make the latter stages of the continental competition, Murtaza claims that the squad is still nursing the loss of Adil and Kaleem, who were signed by FC Dordoi Bishkek earlier this year, and need to time to fill their void.
“We have lost a lot of super stars from our team like Kaleemullah and Adil, so the team is in a renewal phase and we are all working hard to win the Pakistan Premier League next season,” he revealed.
Before signing off, Murtaza admitted that he was looking forward to the upcoming Pakistan Premier League season and was determined to prove his worth in Pakistan’s biggest football competition and impress coach Mohammad Al-Shamlan to get a National team call-up.