Jaffar, Samar likely to be axed for India friendly

KARACHI: Keeping in view its target of lifting the standard of national football by 2022, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has ignored country’s top goalie Jaffar Khan and defender Samar Ishaq for the series against India in order to give a chance to the youngsters.

‘The News’ has learnt through reliable sources that the PFF is not interested in keeping both the seasoned campaigners in the squad which will face India in their one-off international friendly penciled in for September 3 in Derby if no further alteration was made in the schedule.

Jaffar was the captain when Pakistan miserably flopped in the World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh the other month. Jaffar, who had also led Pakistan in the Asian Games in China last year was also dropped for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur this year. Samar Ishaq had led the country in those competitions in which Pakistan failed to make it to the tournament proper.

Although Pakistan’s camp for the tour is scheduled to commence from August 19 and both Jaffar and Ishaq are amongst the probables and both of them have also forwarded their travel documents to the PFF for the tour but sources said that the PFF are focusing on the youngsters for the tour which is being held for the first time in history on a neutral venue.

The PFF have retained mostly those youngsters in the squad for the England tour who had also featured in the Olympic qualifiers against Malaysia and in the World Cup qualifier.

Sources said that Jaffar is being ignored because the team management was not satisfied with his performance in the World Cup qualifiers while Samar, who is a 25-year old, is also being axed with the PFF of the view that he is too senior for the job.

Along with the local players, foreign-based players including Reis Ashraf, Hasan Bashir, Adnan Ahmed, Atif Bashir, Shabbir Khan and goalkeeper Yousuf Butt have also been invited to join the camp in Lahore. However, star defender Zeeshan Rehman is not available for the tour along with Denmark-based Nabil Aslam who is having problem in travel documents, team sources said.