KARACHI: National champions Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) started their preparatory campaign in Rawalpindi on Tuesday for the AFC President’s Cup Group A matches to be held at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore from May 8 to 12.
As many as 14 players attended the first training session at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi under the head coach Tariq Lutfi.
“We have around eight players in the national Under-22 team camp in Lahore; the rest of the lot attended the first training session today,” Lutfi told ‘The News’ on Tuesday.
“I had a detailed meeting with all the players before the training session today. I told them that we should qualify for the semifinals and all of them looked extremely motivated,” added Lutfi, also a former Pakistan coach.
He said that Rizwan Asif, Mohammad Adil and Zia-us-Salam have been released from the national Under-22 team camp because they could not make it for the Asian Cup Qualifiers due to age issue. “Our main focus will be to win our first game against Erchim FC from Mongolia as by beating them we will then almost be able to qualify for the last four stage because there are just three teams in our pool,” Tariq said.
After the Dhanmondi Club from Bangladesh pulled out of the event due to security fears, KRL, Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power Company and debutants Erchim of Mongolia will now be competing in the group.
KRL will face Erchim FC in their first game on May 8 at 7:30pm and defending champions Taiwan Power Company on May 12 at 4:00pm.
Pakistan also hosted the AFC President’s Cup in 2007 in Lahore, which was won by Dordoi-Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan who beat Mahendra Police Club of Nepal 2-1.
Tariq Lutfi will be supported by his manager Ayaz Butt during the camp as their assistant coach Sajjad Mehmood is busy in the AFC Festival which is going to start in Islamabad on Wednesday (today). “After a few days of training here, we plan to shift our camp to Lahore on April 21 and play a few practice matches against the local teams,” Butt said.
From: The News