Buoyant colts eye Yemen scalp

KARACHI: Pakistan colts will meet Yemen on Thursday (today) in a do-or-die battle of the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers at the Mohammed Al Hamad Stadium in Kuwait City.

The win will ensure Pakistan’s seat for the next year’s tournament proper. The match will start at 8:30pm PST.

Pakistan coach Sajjad Mehmood is confident that his charges will beat Yemen in their crucial showdown. “All the players are fit and their morale is very high and I hope we will be able to defeat Yemen tomorrow,” Sajjad told ‘The News’ from Kuwait on Wednesday.

Pakistan were scheduled to hold their last training session at the same venue on Wednesday night.

“We plan to prepare a strategy for this vital game during the training session latter today. We know the strengths of Yemen and would try to exploit their weak points,” the coach said.

After beating Maldives in their opener, Pakistan lost back-to-back matches against Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (UAE) before whipping Afghanistan 3-1 the other day to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the next year’s tournament.

After lifting the SAFF Cup title in Nepal last month, Pakistan colts have a better chance to add to their prestige and if they are able to conquer Yemen, then it will leave a very good impact on the their future and on the future of football in the country.

Sajjad also thinks so and wants hundred percent from his boys in today’s showdown.

“I know, if we qualify for the AFC Championship, it would change not only the fortune of the boys as they will get more international exposure in the days to come but the status of the game in the country will also improve,” Sajjad said. United Arab Emirates (UAE) are heading the table with eight points, followed by Yemen (7 points), Kuwait (7 points), Pakistan (6 points), Afghanistan (5 points).