PPFL: KPT football club, oldest but not the best

KARACHI: Pakistan’s oldest football club, KPT, is in the middle of its worst Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) season after being hit hard as KESC and NBP took advantage of the transfer market and signed its key players.

The ongoing struggle with the management is also reflected in the dropped heads on the field.

Earlier this year, the club celebrated its 125th birthday. In the league, it sits 12th, having lost 10 out of 19 matches this season while winning just four.

According to the team manager Shah Naeem, the loss of Mohamman Rehman and Aurangzeb, two of their key strikers now with KESC on contractual basis and earning at least Rs 40,000 per month, is the main reason. KPT did manage to rope in Mohammad Rehman from Afghan FC and Mohammad Saadit from a Faisalabad club but it was not enough to turn its season around.

“This is by far the worst season we have seen,” Naeem told The Express Tribune. “We were in the top-five for five years but now it seems we need to change players and coaches. After winning the Challenge Cup last year, we have not seen any improvement.”

Coach Mohammad Asif only partially agreed with the manager and feels that the team can still end the league in the top-five.

“We have the best defenders but the void left by Rehman and Aurangzeb is not easy to fill,” said Asif. “Even our signings are taking time to adjust. It’s been a disappointing season but I’m hopeful about our matches in Karachi. We still have 11 matches to improve things.”

KPT has scored only 15 goals in 19 matches while conceding 28.

“My place is in defence and not attack,” said Zafar Majeed, KPT’s highest scorer this season. “We don’t have the facilities and the players are unhappy with the money they’re getting. I got a permanent job here earlier this year so I didn’t switch but others left. We need new coaches, new trainers since there’s no motivation to improve. I’m surprised that I’ve scored seven goals despite losing 10 matches. It’s not a good feeling.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2012 by Natasha Raheel.