Pakistan finalise squad for Singapore tour

Pakistan finalise squad for Singapore tour

KARACHI: Pakistan on Tuesday finalised a 22-member squad for their senior football team’s tour of Singapore, dropping defender Ahsan Ullah and goalkeeper Saqib Hanif from the probables list, coach Zavisa Milosavljevic confirmed it.

Young striker Jadeed Khan Pathan had already been dropped from the list on Monday after he failed to report for the camp in time.

Pathan, who plays for Afghan FC, was part of the Pakistan team in the last SAFF Cup in Delhi last year.

Emerging young gloveman Saqib Hanif, who plays for KRL, was also part of the Pakistan team for the SAFF Cup. He then toured with the Under-22 team to Thailand, Palestine, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, his stunning performance helped Pakistan avoid more humiliation in the Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Defender Ehsan Ullah, from KRL, was part of the squad for the recent Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Riyadh.

The coach Zavisa Milosavljevic had to pick only 15 home-based players as seven foreign-based players are to join the team in Singapore.

Goalkeeper Jehangir Khan has earned a seat after Saqib’s exclusion as he is now fully fit after missing a few tours of the Under-22 side, including the Asian Cup Qualifiers, due to a knee problem for which he has had an operation.

Jehangir has performed superbly in the ongoing Premier League as he has conceded only ten goals in 18 matches that he has played so far for KESC.

Chitral-born striker Mohammad Rasool has been recalled after having missed the New Delhi SAFF Cup. Before that event he had played for Pakistan in the World Cup Qualifiers against Bangladesh. Rasool has showed his class in the ongoing Premier League by scoring 16 goals, just six short of the leading scorer Kaleemullah.

Defender Mohammad Hameed and striker Saeed Ahmed, both from Muslim FC, and striker Mohammad Mujahid from Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will make their international debut.

England-based left-back Shabbir Khan has also been recalled. Shabbir last played for Pakistan in 2009 SAFF Cup in Dhaka after which he was dogged by a ligament injury and failed to represent Pakistan for around three years.

The country’s top foreign-based defender Zeeshan Rehman has also made a comeback after missing the SAFF Cup.

Denmark-born strikers Hasan Bashir and Mohammad Ali and Norway-based defender Omar Malik are likely to make their debuts. Hasan was to make his debut last year against India in England but the series was cancelled after the organisers failed to get the required sponsorship.

Danish keeper Yousuf Butt will be accompanying the senior team for the first time. He was part of the side that played against Malaysia in the Olympic qualifiers last year.

Sources said that the country’s prime goalie Jaffar Khan will be retained as skipper, while defender Samar Ishaq and midfielder Adnan Ahmed will as usual serve as vice-captains.

Pakistan will face Singapore in an international friendly on November 19 in Singapore. Before that, they will confront their junior side on November 16. They leave for Singapore via Bangkok late Wednesday (today) night from Islamabad.

Likely squad:

Jaffar Khan (Army), Jahangir Khan (KESC), Yousuf Butt (BGA, Denmark), Mohammad Hameed (Muslim FC), Samar Ishaq (KRL), Kamran Khan (KRL), Saddam Hussain (KRL), Mohammad Ahmad (WAPDA), Zesh Rehman (Kitchee SC, Hong Kong), Shabir Khan (Worcester City FC, England), Mohammad Adil (KRL), Kaleem Ullah (KRL), Zia-Us-Salam (KRL), Mohammad Mujahid (PAF), Faisal Iqbal (NBP), Naveed Ahmed (Navy), Adnan Ahmad (Nelson FC, England), Saeed Ahmed (Muslim FC), Mohammad Rasool (KESC), Muhammad Ali (BK Avarta, Denmark), Hassan Bashir (BK Hallerup IK, Denmark), Omar Malik (FK Tonsberg, Norway), Officials: Zavisa Milosavljevic (head coach), Shehzad Anwar (assistant coach), Muhammad Aslam Khan (goalkeeping coach), Kamran Medhi (physiotherapist).

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]