U23 squad to prepare for Sri Lanka tour

KARACHI: Pakistan’s under-23 footballers will assemble in Lahore on Saturday (tomorrow) to undergo a brief training period ahead of their tour of Sri Lanka where they will feature in an international football tournament which will be held at the refurbished Jayathilake Sports Complex in Nawalapitiya from December 3-9.

Along with Pakistan, hosts Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives will take part in the slots. As many as 26 players have been invited for the camp which will be held at the Model Town Football Academy Ground in the Punjab capital.

Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic said that mostly those players will be the part of the team who had featured in the Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Riaydh in June-July.

“Yes, almost all those players who had taken part in the Riyadh event will be part of the 22-member team. However, we have found four new players including Zia-Us-Salaam, Mohammad Hameed, Saeed Ahmed and Hasnain Abbas who are also young and are sure to find place in the final squad,” Zavisa revealed.

He was confident that Pakistan would make it to the final.

“I am optimistic that we will qualify for the final as we have a good side,” said the Serbian.

It is pertinent to mention here that no foreign-based player will be part of the visiting team.

According to Sri Lankan media, the winners of this championship will be presented with the Mahinda Rajapaksa trophy. The countr’s sports minister will grace the opening ceremony while President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the chief guest at the closing ceremony.

The Jayathilake Stadium was redeveloped at a cost of Rs250 million and was launched only in July this year. Zavisa’s support staff will be the same which recently served on the tour of Singapore.

Source: the News