Nepal FA rejects Pakistan’s tour proposal

KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s tour to Nepal could not be made possible ahead of the World Cup qualifiers as the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) did not receive a positive reply from the All Nepal Football Association.

“The football governing body of Nepal, ANFA, have told us that they would not be able to host Pakistan because of their ongoing league and their preparations for the World Cup 2014 qualifiers,” the secretary of the PFF Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told ‘The News’ on Sunday.

After the refusal of Nepal, Pakistan will now have to depend on home training and practice games against the departmental teams ahead of their first round of the qualifiers against Bangladesh to be held on June 29 and July 3 in Dhaka and Lahore respectively.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, who have shifted their camp from Lahore to Islamabad on Friday, thrashed Islamabad XI 7-0 in their second practice game on Sunday at the Jinnah Stadium. Hasnain Abbas, Mohammad Ikram and Mohammad Rasool scored a brace each while Kaleemullah struck once. In the next few days, Pakistan will play few more matches against KRL, Navy and Army.

Coach Tariq Lutfi told ‘The News’ on Sunday that the players are catching rhythm with the passage of time and he hoped that the team will be in better shape ahead of the qualifiers.

He said that defender Samar Ishaq and striker Rizwan Asif have developed minor injuries and they were rested for the match against Islamabad. However, he said that the duo will soon be seen in action soon.

He revealed that foreign-based players including defender Atif Bashir Qureshi and midfielder Adnan Farooq Ahmed are expected to join the camp in Islamabad by June 19 or 20, saying defender Zeeshan Rehman has flown to his home town in England from Thailand because of some family problem and will soon inform him about his plan.

“Zesh has told me that he is super fit and has been playing three matches in a week. He is very much available for the qualifiers and he will soon inform me about his arrival,” Lutfi said.

Pakistan will play both their matches against Bangladesh under floodlights. “We plan to play at least one or two practice matches under floodlights so that our players could adjust with the environment,” coach said.