Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan football team on Thursday left for Kuala Lumpur to play a couple of practice matches to give final touches to the preparation for the World Cup qualifiers against Yemen.
After playing one match each against Malaysia’s under-19 and under-23 teams on February 23 and 26, respectively, Pakistan will go to Bangkok on March 1 to play two matches against the top club of the hosts on March 3 and 5.
They will return home on March 7. After spending a day at Lahore, the team will fly out for Doha on March 9 to face Yemen in the first leg of the two-legged qualifiers on March 12.
Yemen opted to host Pakistan in Doha because of political unrest in their country.
Pakistan will return from Doha on March 13 and will host Yemen in their home leg at Punjab Stadium Lahore on March 17.
Denmark-based defender Nabeel Aslam is also part of the touring side. He joined the camp only five days ago, but impresssed coach Mohammad Shamlan.
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) said on Thursday that Danish striker Hasan Bashir and former Fulham defender Zeeshan Rehman would join the team either in Malaysia or Thailand. “Kyrgyzstan-based Kaleemullah, Muhammad Adil and Saddam Hussain, and Bahrain-based Muhammad Ahmad will join the side after they are released by their clubs,” the PFF said.
Only four players have been dropped from the 24-member squad formed for the match against Afghanistan on February 6 at Lahore.
Immediately after the qualifiers, Pakistan will feature in the 2016 Asian Football Confederation Under-23 championship qualifiers Group B matches at Lahore from March 23 to 31. Jordon, Kuwait, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan are in Pakistan’s group.
Squad: Saqib Hanif, Ahsanullah, Muzammil Hussain, Mohammad Bilal, Naved Ahmad, Ahsanullah, Mohammad Riaz, Mohsin Ali, Saddam Hussain, Bilawal-ur-Rehman, Mehmood Khan, Mansoor Khan, Shehram Babar, Mohammad Tahir, Mohammad Tahir, Zeeshan Rehman, Saadullah, Sufyan Asif, Mohammad Tauseef, Habib-ur-Rehman, Kaleemullah, Mohammad Adil, Mohammad Ahmad, Hasan Bashir and Nabil Aslam.