by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Having lifted their fourth and last title way back in 2010-2011 season, WAPDA will emerge as a new-look side in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) which is expected to begin in Multan early next month.
Having achieved glory under former head coach Khalid Butt the most resourceful department lost its ground for some time. However, now the former Pakistan defender Tanvir Ahmad has been given the command of WAPDA’s head coach. A fighting defender in his playing days, Tanvir played under the coaching of Khalid both as WAPDA’s player as well as skipper and is quite inspired by his former coach’s capability to handle the side.
Tanvir wants to handle WAPDA on the same pattern on which Khalid used to handle it. “I want to handle it the way Butt sahib used to handle it. I will get positives of Butt’s working,” Tanvir told ‘The News’ in an interview. WAPDA’s Hyderabad, Multan and Faisalabad centres have recently sent active players on duty and this may be a matter of concern for Tanvir but overall he is happy to have built a very good side for the PPFL. “We have worked very hard,” Tanvir said. “It is because of the love of the new DG Sports Musharraf Khan that we have been able to work on the lot well and I am happy with the preparations,” Tanvir said.
“We had started the preparation on June 1 and recently toured Islamabad where we played matches against different oppositions, including Army. We tested the lot which is fifty percent new,” Tanvir said. “We have inducted a fresh striker Amir Aslam, Shahbaz of Quetta and Maaz of Chitral who all have impressed me,” Tanvir said. “You will see at least three fresh-look guys who will impress in the league,” Tanvir said.
In order to give chances to youngsters, WAPDA dropped former international defender Mohammad Ahmad and Waseem, which seems to be a hard decision. “Yes, it was tough but you have to take such decisions if you want to build your team,” Tanvir said. “We have currently a pool of 25 in the camp and we have divided this lot into two teams, seniors and juniors, which play matches on daily basis,” Tanvir said.
It is yet premature to determine the real strength of teams as football has not been fully active for the last few years due to infighting of officials. But Tanvir hopes his team will leave an impression in the PPFL. “We will inshaAllah finish in top three this season,” Tanvir said.
PFF president Ashfaq Hussain Shah has said they would unveil the schedule of the league after Eid. “We will announce the schedule immediately after Eid. InshaAllah we will begin the league next month,” Ashfaq told ‘The News’.
This correspondent has learnt that KRL, Army, PAF and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) have also made some good preparations for the Premier League. Most of the departments want the league to start from Quetta or Karachi.
They say Multan will be too hot for competitions. It has been learnt that the matches in Multan will be played under floodlights. The reason of starting the league from Multan given by the organisers is that crowds in Multan don’t come to witness matches in winter. “I think summer is the best season where we can pull off crowd in Multan through night matches. In winter no one comes out of his home there,” a source in the PFF said.