The lanky goalkeeper from Faisalabad is undoubtedly talented and fought hard for many a season playing for Lahore United to get the WAPDA number one jersey and all the effort also earned him a place in Shaman’s national side. But he has probably had his worst season in years playing for WAPDA this term. Mistakes during shot stopping have also been seen while playing for Pakistan and the latest was seen during his last outing against Malaysia U-23.
His better qualities are with ball distribution and cross handling. While organising the defence and getting down to save low hit shots needs a lot to be desired.
Previous Club (s): PEL FC
The Pakistani version of David ‘Calamity’ James, Saqib is a curious case to say the least, brilliant on his day and leaves so much to the desire on another day.
Having burst on to the scene five years ago playing for the now defunct PEL FC side he was hailed as Pakistan’s next goalkeeping sensation by many for his brilliant shot stopping ability. But that is that with Saqib, his positioning, organisation, distribution and focus isn’t up to the level which was expected of him. Having played regularly for the U21s U23s and the national side, he hasn’t been able to nail down a starting position for himself. He’d play an amazing 89 minutes and make a school boy error in the last minute, which could potentially jeopardize his position for the crucial qualifier with Shamlan having been critical of the goalkeeper in a recent interview.
This season for KRL hasn’t been impressive either, Saqib tried to play the sweeper keeper surely following his idol Manuel Neuer, but rushing off his line often led to a mistakes. An early rise to prominence may have stunted his development, subsequently he needs proper man management and goalkeeping coach Zahid Taj must instill the realisation in him that he can get much better if he works hard and keeps a sound head.
Previous Club (s): HBL FC
It’s going to be either Muzammil or SSGC’s AhsanUllah starting for Pakistan against Yemen. Inexperienced AhsanUllah has bags of talent and the few showings he’s had for Pakistan have been heartening.
Good quality in distribution and confident organisation at the back make him a decent option to have. Still has to show if he can consistently perform at the highest level.
Something of a surprise is him not having a good run out during the preparatory Malaysia and Thailand tour, but considering the other two keepers made silly mistakes, it may have been a blessing in disguise.
The lanky stopper must prove his mettle during the Yemen tie and perhaps also needs a move to a bigger team to play at a better level.