Fired-up Pakistan aim to down Turks

KARACHI: Pakistan head coach Tariq Lutfi has said that his team is fully prepared to take on Turkmenistan in their Group B opener of the AFC Challenge Cup football qualifiers at the MBJP Stadium, Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (today).

“All the boys are fit and ready for the key showdown against Turkmenistan tomorrow,” Lutfi told ‘The News’ from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

On Sunday, Pakistan held their practice session in light rain and as per weather forecast there is also the chance of a rain on Monday (today).

“It’s very difficult to acclimatize with the hot and humid conditions of Malaysia but I am confident that the players will adjust within a couple of days,” the coach said.

Defender Zeeshan Rehman is set to join the team on Monday but the coach is not sure whether he will be fielded against Turkmenistan or not.

“It is not yet confirmed as I will look into the situation after Zeeshan’s arrival as if the flight gets late then it will reduce his chance to play in the first game tomorrow,” Lutfi said.

This would be the second international game between the two countries in international circuit. In their first clash, on June 7 1993 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, Andrei Martynov-led Turks pocketted 4-0 win in Group A tie of the Sixth ECO Cup.

“We have no idea about their strengths,” Lutfi said. “A big win is required for Pakistan football and the players are motivated to do that,” Lutfi said.