Pakistan U22 camp begins training

KARACHI: Pakistan Under-22 football team training camp kicked off at the City School Ground, Gulberg, Lahore, on Wednesday ahead of their tour to Thailand next week in connection with the preparations for the Asian Cup Qualifiers to be held from June 23 to July 1 at a venue yet to be decided.

Coach Zavisa Milosavljevic told ‘The News’ after the training session on Wednesday evening that all the probables were present in the camp except Mansoor Khan.

Mansoor, a young striker from Pakistan Air Force (PAF), who had played a key role in Pakistan’s title victory in the SAFF Under-16 Championship in Nepal last year, had also failed to represent National Youth B in the National Challenge Cup held in Karachi recently.

He is the only player of that triumphant team who has been called for the camp. But the coach said that he is already late and now it would be difficult for him to join the camp. “We had two sessions on the first day. The players had a gym-training in the morning for an hour in order to test their power and endurance while in the evening 90-100 minutes technical training was conducted,” the Serbian coach said.

When quizzed about the calibre of the France-based players Saeed Sarwar and Malik Mohammad Human Ali, Zavisa said that they had joined the camp, but they were still under scanning and nothing was final about them. “No one is final yet. I will test them and it will take me a few days before deciding about their fate,” added the coach.

He said that he also expects two other foreign-based players to join the team in Thailand. “I don’t know the names of the two other foreign-based players but we expect them to join us in Bangkok,” he said.

England-based Imran Haq, Bilal Butt, Osman Zulqarnain from Norway and Waleed Nadeem from Scotland are the others expected to represent Pakistan in the international circuit.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Thailand (FAT) have asked Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to send their Under-22 team to Bangkok from April 10-24 for playing a few friendly games. “We have been verbally told by the Football Association of Thailand that we could send our team to Bangkok from April 10-24. And we are going to apply for visas and effort will be made to send the team for around two weeks,” a top PFF official said.

Pakistan are expected to play two matches against Thailand’s senior team and three against their Under-22 team during the trip.

Zavisa said it was possible in a two-week tour to play five matches.

In the U22 Asian Cup Qualifiers, Pakistan have been placed in Group B with Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan will face Saudi Arabia on June 23 in their opener, followed by their matches against Sri Lanka on June 25, Kyrgyzstan on June 28, Syria on June 30 and Palestine on July 3.

After the Thailand tour, Pakistan are also expected to tour Palestine at the end of May to feature in an international event there before the qualifiers.

From: The News