By Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Pakistan football captain Kaleemullah has pinned all hopes on the series against India starting August 17 in Bangalore, stating that this would be a make-or-break experience for the young team before the Asian Games.
“This series has a lot riding on it,” the 22-year-old from Chaman told The Express Tribune. “It’s going to be crucial for the morale of our team.
“Delivering a good result is the key and I believe that the battle for the Games will begin from this series.”
Pakistan will play two matches on August 17 and August 20 with India before flying to Bahrain for three more friendly matches.
“If we do well against India, we are bound to go to Bahrain with more confidence. The result of this series will set the tone for us.”
Kaleemullah, who has led the nation twice before, was named team captain again on Wednesday. However, he feels that being at the helm in India will be a challenge.
“This will be the first time I’ll lead the team in India so it’s a little daunting,” said Kaleemullah.
“As a captain I have faith in my side. We may be a young squad but that just means we have a lot more energy and potential to improve. So far the coaches have been working very hard with us.”
He further added that the tour could be an opportunity for Pakistan players to impress the local clubs in India, who may hire Pakistanis for the Indian Super League .
“There is a market for our players in India; as footballers they should see it as an opportunity.”
The Chaman-based striker is hoping to use his experience with Kyrgyz club FC Dordoi, where he will be returning on August 31 after completing his assignments with Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.