Lutfi issues ultimatum to ‘foreign’ players

Alam Zeb Safi [THE NEWS]
Friday, October 21, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistan football coach Tariq Lutfi has said that foreign-based players will not be considered if they failed to join the camp for the SAFF Championship on the very first day.

“I have told the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) that the foreign-based players should join the camp from the day one and I will not relax the rules and will rather opt to pick home-based players in their place if they failed to turn up on the same day,” Lutfi told ‘The’ News on Thursday.

“They will be welcomed if they are able to make their availability for the camp in time as they are skilled boys and would be brought in full form with training with our home-based boys,” he said.

England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmad, defender Atif Bashir and Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir are the three foreign-based players which have been invited for the preparatory camp which will start in Lahore on October 28. The SAFF Cup, which Pakistan are yet to win, will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from December2-12.

Pakistan are also scheduled to tour Thailand from November 22-29 before leaving for New Delhi. “Of the three foreign-based players Hassan Bashir is the best and his inclusion will boost our frontline but it is yet to be known whether he has got his Pakistani passport or not,” Lutfi said.

The coach is confident that a better team would be formed for the event.

“We have invited all the young boys as per the PFF policy and so Pakistan will be fielding a junior side as compared to the rest of the competing teams who I think would definitely field their senior lots. But I hope that our young team will be having a much better fighting spirit during the vital assignment,” he pointed out. “Because of the hectic league, initially not much burden will be put on the players during training.

“Initially we will opt for recovery training and efforts would be made to provide the players good diet. And when they will get settled then the process could get momentum,” Lutfi said. “I don’t think that the players of Karachi and Balochistan will be released for Eid. But the players of Punjab may get a chance to join their families on this occasion.”