WAPDA captain demands investment in squad

Wapda captain Arif Mehmood demands investment in struggling squad.

KARACHI: With injuries to senior players, four-time Pakistan Premier Football League champions Wapda will struggle if they do not make reinforcements soon, according to the captain and striker Arif Mehmood.

So far, Wapda have lost only one match out of seven and sit in third position with 14 points. Striving for improvement, Mehmood hopes that the team management will buy experienced players to help solve their problems.

“It’s only after 15 matches we’d know if we stand a chance, but so far we haven’t been at our best,” Mehmood told The Express Tribune. “I am the only experienced player in the side currently. I need experienced midfielders. We need more players. I’m just hoping that the management somehow decides to get players from other clubs; it’s high time for transfers.”

Manager Sharafat Ali also feels that they might struggle this season after two of his veteran midfielders Rana Fakhar and Syed Arif Hussain picked up knee injuries that will keep them on the sidelines for a while. Wapda’s only comfortable win came against minnows ZTBL with the team struggling offensively as well as defensively.

However, Ali feels that Wapda have never depended on getting players from other clubs, mainly because of their philosophy of grooming players on their own. The only purchase Wapda made this season was Muhammad Alamgir, who was bought from Police on a Rs25,000 contract.

“We won’t be investing in senior players at the moment as far as the transfers are concerned,” said Ali. “We are investing more in the under-20 and under-18 players. Wapda have always groomed their own footballers; it’s the other clubs that eye our players instead of other way round. But I can say that we might see some new younger players next season.”

Despite the difficulties, however, Mehmood is confident of making a strong comeback in the league this season. According to the club captain, Wapda are known for doing well during tough times, recalling his 2010 season, when the club thrived to the top, despite injuries to four of their top players. He remains optimistic of the club’s chances of staying in the top tier of the league table.

“It’s a phase and we are restructuring with a new coach. This season for me is not about how many goals I score, it’s about maintaining our top three positions in the league.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2012.