International footballers to feature in RLCA tournament

Alam Zeb Safi
Saturday, July 28, 2012
[The News]


KARACHI: A bunch of international players will also be seen in action when the 1st RLCA All Pakistan Ramazan-Ul-Mubarak Floodlight Football tournament explodes into action here at the RLCA Ground in Korangi from July 30.

Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa, former international midfielder Farooq Shah, dashing striker Mohammad Rasool, emerging international Junaid Qadir and Sher Mohammad are likely to be in action in the event, which will conclude on August 14.

Twelve teams will feature in the event, which have been bracketed in four groups. Group A has Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Pakistan Steel, District Football Association (DFA) Central; Group B carries National Bank, Omar Associates and DFA South; Group C comprises PIA, Port Qasim Authority and DFA East; while Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), DFA West and DFA Malir form the Group D.

Two outfits from each group will move into the quarter-finals which will be held on August 9 and 10. The semifinals will be conducted on August 11 and 12, followed by final on August 14.

This information was provided by the chief organiser of the tournament and former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif at a press conference here at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.

Also present were Director tournament and Pakistan football team assistant coach Nasir Ismail, Pakistan football team former coach Tariq Lutfi, former Test cricketer Basit Ali, secretary DFA East Ubaidullah, former international footballer Shamim Khan, KESC Sports Manager Zaib Khan and football organiser Usman Baloch.

Interestingly, before the start of the event, a festival game will be conducted on July 29 at 10:30 pm between Cricketers XI and Footballers XI.

Although Rashid Latif did not unveil the list of the teams playing the festival match, ‘The News’ learnt through sources that Cricketers XI will comprise Mohammad Sami, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmad, Anwar Ali, Tanvir Ahmad, Ramiz Raja, Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan, Atif Ali, Rashid Latif, Mohammad Waqas, Khalil-Ur-Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Haris Ali Khan, Wajahat Khan, Saqib Ali and Saeed Azad.

Footballers XI include Abu Bakar (goalkeeper), Shamim Akhtar, Mohammad Sadiq, Mohammad Tariq, Zaib Khan, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Javed, Nasir Ismail, Salim Patni, Nasir Ali, Ghulam Shabbir, Ghulam Sarwar, Qamar Ali, Nasim Akhtar, Mohammad Shahid and Saifullah.

The FIFA rules will apply during the festival match, which is expected to attract a large crowd. Tournament Director Nasir Ismail said that both the teams would play in colour kits.

Nasir said that twenty years back a football match was held at the National Stadium Karachi, but this is the first time that a football tournament is going to be conducted at a cricket ground.

Rashid said that this is the first step and that he would try his best to enhance the quality of the tournament.

The former Test wicketkeeper, who has already held wonderful cricket tournaments, said that he has been assembling the cricketers in Landhi and Korangi for the last one and a half year. “Due to law and order situation in the city, particularly in Lyari where football is adored, I am going to make an effort to bring all these people to a single platform through football tournament,” said Rashid.

He said that Rs1.5 million would be spent on the tournament, which would be met by the RLCA. Rashid was presented a shield by Tariq Lutfi on behalf of PFF on the occasion.