KARACHI: The Pakistan football team is scheduled to leave for Thailand on February 6 for a two-week training camp ahead of their first round Olympic qualifier against Malaysia.
“The team will fly for Bangkok in the wee hours of February 6 and after undergoing a two-week training camp, it will proceed to Kuala Lumpur on February 20 to play their first-leg on February 23,” Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Col Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi told ‘The News’ on Friday.
Meanwhile, the head coach Tariq Lutfi said that it would take him three or four days to finalise the final 20 or 22-member squad.
He also confirmed that the Spain-based goalkeeper Naiman Khan has left the camp after receiving a knee injury during training in Lahore, informing that the doctor had advised him that it would take him ten to twelve weeks to recover.
“Foreigners, particularly Europeans are always good in their basics. Naiman Khan has a good height and a boy of good character and he may be recalled in the future,” Lutfi said.
He said that midfielder Mohammad Irfan Khan from United Kingdom has also joined the camp three or four days back.
“Irfan, who has also represented Pakistan Under-19 team before, is an intelligent player and most probably he will be part of the final squad which will be announced for the Thailand tour and the first-leg against Malaysia,” the coach said.
Tariq said that Denmark-based gloveman Yousuf Butt is also expected to arrive in Lahore in the next five or six days.
“We have recieved his video clips but it is premature to decide about him unless he is carefully watched in the training camp,” Tariq said.
Meanwhile, The News learnt through sources that the team management is also mulling over the option to announce defender Mohammad Haji as captain for the qualifiers.
It is pertinent to mention here that after the first-leg, Pakistan will host Palestine for a two-match series before the Greenshirts will face Malaysia in their home leg on March 9 in a yet to be decided venue.