Denmark-based Nabil Aslam called up for 2014 qualifiers

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Experienced midfielder Farooq Shah and striker Mohammad Rasool were recalled while Denmark-based defender Nabil Aslam has also been invited as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) announced probables on Friday for the tour of Palestine and World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh.

Farooq Shah, who has played in the Swedish top division and Chitral-born Mohammad Rasool have been included in the probables for the camp which will start from May 6 at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.

Both Farooq and Rasool have been in fine form in the NBP Football Cup currently being held in Faisalabad. Both of them last represented Pakistan in the SAFF Championship in the Maldives in 2008.

Pakistan will leave for Palestine on May 22 to play their remaining two matches of their four-match series on May 24 and 27 at Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium, Al-Ram near Ramallah.

Pakistan will then face Bangladesh in their first round of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers on June 29 and July 3 in a yet to be decided venues.

In an amazing development, Pakistan also called Danish Superliga defender Nabil Aslam, who plays for Alliance Club Horsens.

“We won the Danish 1st Division in 2009-10, governed by the Danish Football Association with the runners-up being Lyngby BK and were promoted to the Danish Superliga this season which will conclude on May 29 2011,” said Nabil who was born at Kongens Lyngby, Denmark on August 3, 1984 and has played 44 matches for AC Horsens since 2008.

“I have heard from Zeeshan Rehman and other foreign-based footballers that Nabil is a nice player. It will be a very good find for Pakistan,” Pakistan’s head coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’.

However, midfielder Abdul Aziz, strikers Nasrullah Khan and Imran Niazi, who were part of the squad during the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers last month in Kuala Lumpur, were dropped.

“These boys were dropped because their performance was not impressive during the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers,” Lutfi said.

However, other overseas players including Atif Bashir, Zeeshan Rehman, Adnan Farooq and Hassan Bashir are also in the probables list.

“All these foreign-based footballers including Nabil Aslam are playing in professional leagues and it is yet to be known whether they will be available for the tour to Palestine or not. But I hope that a few of them would be available for the World Cup qualifiers,” Lutfi said.

“We want to end the drought and beat Bangladesh in the qualifiers to move into the next round. I have also heard that the PFF is trying to organise a few practice games for us in Syria and Jordon after the Palestine tour. If it becomes possible then we would be able to make good preparations for the qualifiers,” Lutfi said.

Lutfi said that experienced goalkeepers Jaffar Khan and Abdul Aziz could also be included in the camp for the twin assignments.

Probables: Goal keepers: Amir Gul (NBP), Muhammad Omar (KESC), Shahid Nabi, Ghulam Nabi (KRL), Ahsan Ullah (KPT), Saqib Hanif (ZTBL), Defenders: Manzoor Ahmed (WAPDA), Alamgir Khan (Police), Ahsan Ullah (KRL), Muhammad Asif (WAPDA), Muhammad Shahid (KRL), Nabeel Aslam (AC Horsens, Denmark), Abdul Jabbar (PIA), Ansar Abbas (Army), Atif Bashir Qureshi (Barry Town, Wales), Kamran Khan (KRL), Muhammad Ahmed (WAPDA), Samar Ishaq (KRL), Zeeshan Rehman (Muangthong United FC, Thailand)

Midfielders: Faisal Iqbal (NBP), Syed Arif Hussain (WAPDA), Zia Us Salam (KRL), Muhammad Waseem (KPT), Farooq Shah (NBP), Muhammad Mujahid (PAF), Hussnain Abbas, Muhammad Adil, Mehmood Khan (KRL), Adnan Farooq Ahmed (Aboomoslem FC, Iran)

Strikers: Saddam Hussain, Shakir Lashari (PIA), Jadeed Khan Pathan, Arif Mehmood (WAPDA), Rizwan Asif, Kalim Ullah, Muhammad Qasim (KRL), Muhammad bin Younus, Muhammad Riaz, Mohammad Rasool (KESC), Adam Hameed (NBP), Hassan Bashir (Hellerup IK, Denmark), Ahmad Akbar Khan (Australia).