‘Pakistan should be invited for Nehru Cup’: Nasir Ismail

KARACHI: Pakistan football team assistant coach Nasir Ismail said on Thursday India should invite Pakistan for Nehru Cup football tournament which is being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from August 22 to September 2.

“If India has invited Pakistan cricket team for a series at the end of this year and has also invited the national T20 champions Sialkot Stallions for the Champions League then they should also include Pakistan football team in the Nehru Cup,” Nasir told ‘The News’ here in a brief chat.

“There are still two weeks to go and Pakistan football team can be prepared. Because of the coming Premier League all the players are in full practice and only three or four days practice in the camp will be sufficient to make them able to participate in the Nehru Cup,” added Nasir, also an AFC License-A coach.

“India should have included Pakistan in their plans for the tournament much earlier. But if they did not do that, still by following their cricket chiefs, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) should invite Pakistan for the tourney,” the coach said.

“This would help improve relations between the two countries,” said Nasir, who also serves as the coach of National Bank.

He said that Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic also wants to give more exposure to his senior team and if Pakistan were given chance in Nehru Cup it would help his plans ahead of the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers. In the Nehru Cup, besides hosts and defending champions India, Syria, Cameroon, Maldives and Nepal are going to show their worth.

Kenya have pulled out of the tournament while there are rumours that Cameroon may also withdraw.

Pakistan football team last played on the Indian soil in December 2011 at the SAFF Championship during which the Greenshirts played drew all their three group games which prevented them from moving into the semifinals.

[The News]