Zavisa considering Denmark based footballer for AFC Challenge Cup

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan football team coach Zavisa Milosavljevic has said that Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir can become a part of the national team for the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.

“Although we had not invited Hassan for the camp, he came to Pakistan on his personal visit and he wanted to join the camp and so we welcomed him a couple of days ago,” said Zavisa. “He is an experienced player and I am closely observing him in the camp. We can use him in the senior team for the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers,” added Zavisa.

However, he was quick to add that he has not made any final decision about him as he remains under scanning. He said the player would have to deliver. He revealed that Hassan had applied for Pakistani passport and would get that in a few days.

Hassan is a Denmark national of Pakistani origin and has opted to play for Pakistan despite tough rules of nationality of Denmark. Hassan plays for the Danish second division club Svebˆlle BI. The 2nd division is the third-tier Danish football league after the 1st division while the Danish Superliga is on the top of the list.

Hassan is desperately waiting for his international debut for Pakistan. He was part of the Pakistan team for a series against India in England last year, but his desire to start his international career could not be fulfilled when the series was cancelled after the organisers failed to get the required sponsorship.

Tariq Lutfi, the then Pakistan coach, was also impressed by Hassan Bashir. “Hassan Bashir has impressed me a lot. He is an intelligent player and the most important thing about him is that he appears to be very disciplined and committed,” Lutfi had told ‘The News’ in an interview last year. Denmark has rich assets for Pakistan in the shape of footballers.

Defender Nabil Aslam, playing in Superliga, and striker Mohammad Ali are also among those desirous to play for Pakistan. Currently Pakistan team camp is in operation at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore under the supervision of Zavisa. The main focus of the coach in the camp is to work on the technical aspects of the players as the team does not have before it any international commitment in the near future.

“Our focus is not to improve the fitness level of the players so there is no physical or conditioning training,” he said. He added that the camp was organised only to work on the techniques of the players and formation.

To a query, he said that the 14 under-22 players in the camp are still under observation. “These young players are still under scanning as this is not the right time to decide about their fate. I have to see more such players in the National Challenge Cup next month and after that the final decision about these boys would be made,” he added.

Pakistan Under-22 team will feature in the Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers starting near the end of June at a yet to be decided venue. Zavisa said that Pakistan senior team would face national Under-19 team in two practice matches on Monday (today) and Wednesday. “I don’t think these matches will be interesting for any one else but for me these would be interesting as I would try to identify good players for the future,” he said. Pakistan team had a rest on Sunday and the players visited the Wagah border along with the coach Zavisa. The camp will end on Wednesday.