Foreign players to feature in 2014 WC Qualifiers

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan football team coach Tariq Lutfi made it clear on Wednesday that the foreign-based players will not be a part of the team for the tour of Palestine later this month while they will only be called for the World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh next month.

“Foreign players have commitments with their clubs hence we are not inviting them for the tour to Palestine,” Lutfi told The News here in an interview on Wednesday.”However, they will be called up for the World Cup qualifier.”

Defenders Nabeel Aslam (AC Horsens, Denmark), Atif Bashir Qureshi (Barry Town, Wales) Zeeshan Rehman (Muangthong United FC, Thailand), midfielder Adnan Farooq Ahmed (Aboomoslem FC, Iran) and strikers Hassan Bashir (Hellerup IK, Denmark) and Ahmad Akbar Khan (Australia) are on the coach’s radar for the two-legged first round qualifiers on June 29 and July 3 in yet to be decided venues.

The home-based players, meanwhile, will start assembling in Lahore on Friday (tomorrow) to start their preparatory campaign on Saturday. The Greenshirts are scheduled to leave for Palestine on May 22 where they will play their return two matches of their four-match bilateral series on May 24 and 27 at the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium near Ramallah.

“The boys will give their joining report on Friday and the training will start on Saturday as we try to build a good side,” Lutfi said.

“Goalkeepers Jaffer Khan, Jehangir Khan and Abdul Aziz, midfielder Farooq Shah and striker Shakir Lashari and a few others have been inserted into the probables list and now they have to prove their fitness in order to secure a place in the final squad.

“There will be no compromise on discipline, and the players who will show their commitment and interest in the camp will be considered for national duty.”

Lutfi said that the Palestine tour will help identify the right players for the World Cup qualifiers and he expects the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to arrange a training tour after the Palestine trip so that solid preparations could be made for the 2014 qualifiers. Lutfi added that License A coach Shehzad Anwar has also been inserted into the support staff which also carries License A coach Nasir Ismail, Gohar Zaman and goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan.