Sports Correspondent – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Pakistan lost their opening match in their tour of Thailand to Osotspa FC 2-0 in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Pakistan also played two matches in Malaysia last month, where they won one and lost the other to the Malaysian U23 team.
The team managed to hold the home side in a goalless first half but conceded their first goal in the 65th minute. The Thai club then sealed the win in the 75th minute with their second on the night.
The defeat left Pakistan team manager Asghar Anjum disappointed with his players’ profligacy, bemoaning their lack of finishing as one of the biggest let-downs. “It was a good match but we failed to deliver to our potential,” Anjum told The Express Tribune. “Osotspa FC had players from Brazil, France and Nigeria; they have a very good team. The general standard of football here in Thailand is good. But we missed at least nine opportunities to score, so that is our downfall.”
Anjum said that the FC Dordoi trio — Kaleemullah, Saddam Hussain and Muhammad Adil — have also joined the side and participated in the match. However, the match kicked off only five hours after their arrival to Bangkok and the manager hopes the star trio will perform better in the next match, which is against Thailand’s U23 side on March 5.
“They need some time to adjust, all three of them played the match just five hours after landing in Bangkok,” said Anjum.
Zesh Rehman to join the team in Doha for the qualifiers
Anjum also said that Pakistan will return home on March 7 from the preparatory tour and head to Doha for the first match against Yemen on March 12.
He added that Zesh Rehman will join the side directly for the qualifiers. “Zesh is one of our key players,” said Anjum. “But he couldn’t join us on the practice, tour, so he has assured us that he will come to Doha. The team will be leaving for the qualifiers from Lahore on March 9.”
Pakistan will go up against Yemen in a two-legged clash in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with the first on March 12 and the second on March 17.
Pakistan also played Yemen in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers before, losing both their matches in 1993, the first 5-1 and the second 3-0.