Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan football team flew out for Palestine from Lahore last night to feature in the Al-Nakba International Football tournament to be held there from May 10 to 19.
This correspondent learnt that Palestine Football Association (PFA) sent Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) the written permission from Israel on Wednesday evening for using its land while travelling to Palestine by road. The team was scheduled to land in Dubai at 5am this morning (Thursday) and from there it would leave for Jordan at 7am. From Jordan the Greenshirts will go to Palestine by road while passing through the territory of Israel.
The team’s physiotherapist Dr Kamran Mehdi is not accompanying the side due to illness.
“Yes, I am in hospital and cannot go with the team,” Kamran told ‘The News’. It means that the Pakistani brigade will have to hire the services of a local physio during the event.
This correspondent also learnt that the country’s star winger Mohammad Aadil is expected to join the team in Dubai.
Aadil is currently playing for Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Bishkek on loan along with his teammate Kaleemullah.
Pakistan team assistant coach Hasan Baloch told this correspondent that the team comprised mostly youngsters and the exposure would help them learn a lot.
The Palestine tour is in connection with the preparations for the Asian Games pencilled in for September 19 to October 4 in Incheon, South Korea.
Pakistan’s Bahraini coach Mohammed Shamlan will be the head coach of the team on the tour. Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Sri Lanka are the other teams in the tournament. Last time Pakistan had participated in the tournament in 2012 when Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic was the country’s coach.
Pakistan squad: Ihsanullah, Shehroz, Usman Khan, Mohammad Ahmed, Mohammad Sohail, Mohammad Bilal, Faisal Iqbal, Mohsin Ali, Rashid Noor, Saddam Hussain, Bilawal-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Riaz, Naveed Ahmed, Sher Mohammad, Mohammad Bilal, Sher Ali, Mansoor Khan, Izharullah, Ishfaquddin, Mohammad Riaz, Mohammad Aadil, Officials: Mohammed Shamlan Mubarak (head coach), Tanvir Ahmed (assistant coach), Asghar Anjum (assistant coach/manager), Aslam Khan (goalkeeping coach), Mohammad Farooq (masseur).