Pak U13s will do well in Mashhad: coach

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Under13 football team coach Hasan Baloch has said that his charges would perform well in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Championship Group D Qualifiers to be held at Mashhad in Iran from April 23-29.

“We have a good stuff and I hope that we will live up to the expectations,” Hasan told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Tuesday.

Pakistan have been bracketed with archrivals India, hosts Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Hasan said that the two leading sides from the group would advance to the next year’s finals.

Pakistan will face Turkmenistan on April 24, Kyrgyzstan on 26, India on 28 and Iran on 29.

The event, which was previously dubbed a festival, has been transformed into a competition. When it was a festival there used to be no calculation of points, but the coaches of the participating teams would themselves count the points and in the end finalised the positions.

But now the winners will get three points, and in case of a draw the competing teams will get one point each.

Hasan said that the new format was positive. “It’s good as now every team will try its best to qualify for the finals,” said Hasan.

As many as 24 probables are undergoing training at the City School Ground in Lahore and the final team, most probably comprising 21 members, will be unveiled by April 12.

Among those training, 15 are from Karachi, three each from Balochistan and Punjab and two hail from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hasan said that the players from Karachi were technically good. To a query he said that in the morning session they focused on fitness and stamina and in the evening on the technical and tactical aspects of the game.

“We are working hard and I hope that the team will not face any problem,” said Hasan.

Meanwhile, an official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) said that the goalkeeper coach would not be going to Iran with the team.

Hasan said that his team would be playing five practice matches against different teams in Lahore before flying out for Iran.

From: The News