Foreign contingent to join team directly in Singapore

KARACHI: All the seven foreign-based footballers will go straight to Singapore from their respective countries to join Pakistan team, which will be playing an international friendly against Singapore on November 19, a team official confirmed on Friday.

“Yes, all the seven foreign-based players will go directly to Singapore because they have their league commitments,” Pakistan football team coach Zavisa Milosavljevic told ‘The News’.

The foreign players are star defender Zeeshan Rehman, who plays for Hong Kong club Kitchee, England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmad, left-back Shabir Khan, Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir, goalkeeper Yousuf Butt, defender Omar Malik, and striker Mohammad Ali.

Pakistan will also play a match against Singapore Under-23 team on November 16.

Zavisa said that there would be 15 home-based players in the contingent.

He said that the country would take a fresh start with the tour of Singapore as the team last played an international game in December 2011 in New Delhi at the SAFF Championship. “It is very difficult to build a team with so little exposure. We last played an international match almost ten months back.”

He said Pakistan needed at least 10 to 12 international matches a year apart from the regular competitions.

He said he wanted the foreign-based players to get acquainted with the home players, develop understanding and adopt a certain playing system.

“I want to cook them together and to prepare a good meal for the future use,” the coach said.

The country’s top gloveman Jaffar Khan is expected to be retained as skipper of the team for the tour. Jaffar these days is leading Army in the Premier League and is in good form.

Zavisa will be supported by assistant coach Shehzad Anwar who recently replaced Nasir Ismail and goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan. Physiotherapist Dr Kamran Mehdi and massager Shamoon Aabid will also accompany the side.

Pakistan tried to arrange matches during the past two months, but failed to convince any foreign team to visit the country. The camp for the Singapore tour will be held in Lahore from November 10.

Source: The News