Pakistan will field young team: face Palestine tomorrow

Lahore, 28 Feb: Pakistan will hand over U21 line up to the Match Commissioner Mian Rizwan Ali before the Lahore Test tomorrow against Palestine in first of the four matches in bilateral series. Punjab Stadium will host the match at 7 PM. All players participating in Lahore clash under Jadeed Khan are born on or after 1 January 1989. The same Pakistani team suffered 0-2 defeat at the hands of Khairul Fahmi Che Mat-led Malaysia who took the initiative in  2012 London Olympic Games first round qualifier  in the first-leg clash at the Shah Alam Stadium last Wednesday. The Young Tigers got of to a roaring start when Wan Zaharulnizam put them ahead after just four minutes before Irfan Fazail doubled Malaysia’s advantage four minutes into first-half stoppage time, shortly after Pakistan were reduced to ten men with the sending off of Ansar Abbas.

Despite the numerical advantage and the two-goal cushion, Malaysia couldn’t add to their tally in the second-half  due to spectacular goal keeping of KJESC’s Muhammed Omar which will give Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi some encouragement, requiring 3-0 or 5-2 win going in to the return fixture at the same Punjab Stadium on 9 March.

“Palestine’s players are composed of West Bank Premier League and it is a good team despite the fact that their nowadays FIFA ranking 178 which  is below Pakistan’s 173. But I plan to go with the U21 boys in order to make it ready for the second leg as well as KL-based AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier where several National team players will join us in the Camp” said Pakistani coach Tariq Lutfi who will be first home-grown coach against Palestine after
two foreigners in 2000 and 2006 ties.

“It’s a historical series for which I am thankful to Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, also AFC Executive Committee member, and  Palestinian Football Association (PFA)’s President Al Rajoub Jibril. I believe that our youngsters will learn a lot from it ahead of the vital showdown against Malaysia,” Tariq said who will face a National team for the first time as coach since 2005 Pakistan-India Lahore Test.
Tariq is interested in GK Omar to be among first choice on Tuesday. “No doubt Yousuf  Butt is technically sound but if one is not going to be fully committed then it affects one’s performance. If he really wants to grow he will show a sort of commitment and spirit which needs for an international match. We changed Yousuf at Shah Alam stadia, bringing KESC keeper in the second half and he was really impressive on international U21 debut.”