KARACHI: Pakistan football team will be put to a real test on Monday (today) when they face Singapore in their friendly game at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore, writes Alam Zeb Safi.
But the good news for Pakistan is that their key foreign-based players Zeeshan Rehman and Shabir Khan have joined the team after missing the game against the Singapore Olympic side on Friday which the hosts won by 1-0 after a tough fight.
Zesh, a former Fulham defender and now playing for Hong Kong’s Kitchee FC, has been playing for Pakistan for the last few years, while left-back Shabir Khan, who plays for Worcester City FC, has come back after remaining out for three years due to a ligament injury. He last played for Pakistan in the 2009 Dhaka SAFF Championship.
Both Zesh and Shabbir underwent a practice session on Sunday.
However, England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmed, who pulled his left-leg muscles, is doubtful for today’s meeting. “Yes, Adnan has muscles problem in his left leg which he developed during our first game against Singapore Olympic side the other day and he will be tested tomorrow during the warm-up before the match and then his fate will be decided,” Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic told ‘The News’ from Singapore on Sunday.
The coach plans to test most of the players in today’s match as his main aim is to build a solid combination for the future. “I am going to check all the boys which will help us plan for the future and make a good combination,” the Serbian said. Norway-based defender Omar Malik, home-based striker Mohammad Mujahid and Denmark-based goalkeeper Yousuf Butt are most likely to be given a chance.
Mujahid had a viral infection, but now his condition is much better.
Yousuf Butt was part of the Pakistan Olympic side during the Olympic Qualifiers against Malaysia last year, but the Danish gloveman was replaced by Mohammad Omar after Pakistan conceded two early goals against their rivals in their away leg in Malaysia.
Goalie Jehangir Khan and skipper Jaffar Khan had played the first game and the former will be given rest today. “Jehangir is a good keeper but he needs improvement and today we will also give chance to Yousuf,” Zavisa said.
The coach hoped that Pakistan would put up an improved performance against the Singaporeans who normally play fast game.
“I think we have come here to extend our best effort and hopefully we will try to perform tomorrow and will play our own game,” Zavisa said.
The coach said that the pitch could create problems for both the teams.
“The pitch is soft and wet and will create problems for both teams,” Zavisa said.
The match will start at 4:45pm PST.
Singapore had defeated Pakistan 3-0 in Singapore in 2003 when Haroon Yousuf was the skipper of the Greenshirts.
Pakistani boys are staying in the four-star Albert Court Hotel in central Singapore.
Pakistan squad: Jaffar Khan, Jahangir Khan, Yousuf Butt, Mohammad Hameed, Samar Ishaq, Kamran Khan, Saddam Hussain, Mohammad Ahmad, Zesh Rehman, Shabbir Khan, Mohammad Aadil, Kaleem Ullah, Zia-Us-Salam, Mohammad Mujahid, Faisal Iqbal, Naveed Ahmed, Adnan Ahmad, Saeed Ahmed, Mohammad Rasool, Muhammad Ali, Hassan Bashir, Omar Malik,
Officials: Zavisa Milosavljevic (head coach, manager), Shehzad Anwar (assistant coach), Muhammad Aslam Khan (goalkeeping coach), Kamran Medhi (physiotherapist, assistant manager).
from: The News
Pics from the pre-match press conference on FA Singapore‘s facebook page
Singapore vs Pakistan Friendly Football Matches in Singapore-2012
Match Results (Sunday, November 18, 2012)
Singapore Vs Pakistan Friendly Matches-2012 Fixtures
Match # 2 Singapore Vs Pakistan @ 16:45PST (19:45 SST) @ Jurong West Stadium, Singapore on Monday, November 19, 2012.