LAHORE – Altogether 27 players are attending national football camp here for the buildup of Pakistan team for its participation in the SAFF football championship being played in Dhaka from September 4-15.
“Best available talent is sharpening its skills and improving technique under the watchful eyes of foreign coaches to produce encouraging results in the event,” said Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President Faisal Saleh Hayat on Wednesday. Seven teams including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal Bhutan Maldives and Pakistan are featuring in the South Asian premier football activity. India is the defending champion of the event.
Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira, assisted by physical trainer Jose Roberto are working hard in two daily session to prepare the footballers for a tough assignment which Pakistan has never won in the past, he said. “Players are taking keen interest in daily football practice matches besides attending physical training sessions and the foreign experts are maintaining progress report of every player for coming up with a combination capable of attaining desired results in the competition,” said PFF chief.
Faisal said the presence of foreign experts is a big source of encouragement and inspiration for the players who are learning finer points of the game with modern coaching methods put in place by the Brazilian coach. “Apart from enhancing players overall performance , the trainer is laying special emphasis to boost the fitness level of the players by engaging them in strenuous drills,” he added.
Pakistan will open its campaign the championship by taking on Nepal on September 4. Pakistan wrote new football by getting a success in the ongoing Asian games football competition after forty four years beating Nepal 2-1. Pakistan will face Bangladesh on September 6 followed by their third match against Bhutan on September 8.
“We are noticing visible improvement in the showing of our team and its performance in the Asian Games was good and we are expecting far better performance from our team in SAFF championship,” said Faisal and added: “A lot of time was wasted in the country due to efforts to create parallel football body which put the game at the brink of destruction and we have to start from the beginning for putting football back at the road of development and progress.”
The PFF president was of the view that participation in the SAFF championship is imperative to keep engage Pakistan footballers in international activities. “Due to a long gap of non-participation in international events abroad, our footballers became rusty and the process to unearth talent on regular basis through our talent hunt and junior level football events badly suffered but now we are fully determined and focused to bridge in the gap by re-launching our all national football activities at various and ensuring the participation of our team in international events.”
Following are attending the camp, Umar Hayat, Mohammad Usman, Naveed Ahmad, Faisal Iqbal, Shahbaz Younis, Mehdi Hasan, Mohsin Ali, Bawal ur Rehman, Muhammad Ahmad, Adeel Ali, Muhammad Riaz, Yousaf Ahmad, Ahmad Faheem, Saadullah, Mehmood Khan, Zain ul Abidean, Saddam Hussain, Mohammad Adeel, Sohail Khan, Mansoor, Arslan Ali, Umair Ali, Murtaza Hussain, Muhammad Bilal, Saqib Hanif, Ahsan ullah and Abdul Basit.