Footballers begin training for AFC U22 qualifiers

KARACHI: National footballers started their last preparatory phase for the Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Lahore on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic told ‘The News’ that all the 27 players attended the sessions. He said that the camp would be shifted to Islamabad on Tuesday. “The weather in Islamabad is very good and overall the conditions there are superb. The pitch, which at one time was not too good, has been prepared well now and I believe that we will have a good training period there,” Zavisa said.

He said that 23 players would go to Saudi Arabia. In the Qualifiers, to be held at two different venues from June 23 to July 3, Pakistan have been placed in Group B with Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Sri Lanka, hosts Saudi Arabia and Palestine.

Zavisa said that he was trying to build a strong side. The foreigner is being assisted by coaches Nasir Ismail and Aslam Khan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is trying to arrange a two-week foreign tour for the team ahead of their campaign in Saudi Arabia.

PFF secretary Col Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi met with football officials of different Gulf countries during his visit to Hungary where he attended the Congress meeting of FIFA.

“I held talks with the officials of Bahrain, Qatar, Jordon, Oman and Malaysia. They told me that they will look into their schedules and will then inform us. Nothing is yet confirmed,” Lodhi told this correspondent after arriving in Lahore.

Pakistan Under-22 have been in constant practice for the last few weeks. They were sent last month to Thailand for two weeks and early this month featured in the Al-Nakba International Football tournament in Palestine.

The coach is satisfied with the progress the boys have been making for the last two months.

According to the press release issued hereby Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), the probables of the training camp are:

Saqib Hanif (GK, KRL), Muzamil Hussain (GK, WAPDA), Tanveer Mumtaz (GK, KRL), Zaid Arif (GK, ZTBL), Naiman Khan (GK, France), Saddam Hussain (DF, KRL), Naveed Ahmed (DF, Pakistan Navy), Ahsan Ullah (DF, KRL), Manzoor Ahmed (DF, WAPDA), Mohsan Ali (DF, Pakistan Navy), Noor Muhammad (DF, Pakistan Navy), Aamir Sidiqui (DF, NBP), Faisal Iqbal (MF, NBP), Kaleem Ullah (MF, KRL), Mehmood Khan (MF, KRL), Muhammad Adil (MF, KRL), Shair Muhammad (MF, NBP), Bilawal-ur-Rehman (MF, KRL), Junaid Qadir (MF, KPT), Abdul Rehman (MF, WAPDA), Imran Ali Khan (MF, Huma Club IFA), Imran Abdullah (MF, PIA), Muhammad (FW, KPT), Zakir Lashari (FW, HBL), Faisal Ali (FW, ZTBL), Riaz Ahmed (FW, SSGC) and Jamal-ud-Din (FW, KPT).