PAF gain NFCC bronze medal

KARACHI: International striker Mohammad Mujahid scored a brace to help Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to win a bronze medal when they defeated Wapda 2-0 in the third place play-off of the National Football Challenge Cup at the Dring Stadium in Bahawalpur on Saturday.

Mujahid, who has been instrumental for PAF in the tournament, struck in the 81st and 86th minutes. This was the first medal lifted by PAF in the history of the event.

“We were unlucky in the semi-final but still we have managed a medal, our first in the tournament’s history,” PAF coach Mohammad Arshad told ‘The News’.

On Friday night, Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) set a date with National Bank in the final after edging PAF 5-4 on sudden death penalties in the second semi-final.

Even after extra-time the game ended in goalless draw. In the first five penalties, it was 4-4 that stretched it to the running penalties where KESC kept their nerves, sealing a 5-4 victory when PAF’s defender Asif missed his team’s eighth penalty.

For KESC Mohammad Rasool, Aurangzeb Baba, Akbar Ali, Jalil Ahmed and Aurangzeb Junior converted their penalties while Aurangzeb Senior, Umar Farooq and Mohammad Moosa failed to find the target. For PAF Iqbal, Arif Nawaz, Sher Ali and Irfan Ali scored goals from the spot while Mohammad Mujahid, Aamir, Saleh Khan and Asif missed their targets.

But the hero of the match was KESC’s gloveman Jehangir Khan who acrobatically saved three penalties.

“It was a good match as both the teams played with real spirit,” KESC skipper Mohammad Essa said.

“Our keeper Jehangir saved three penalties in which two were unbelievable efforts that put us in the final,” said Essa, a former Pakistan captain.

The KESC-National Bank final will be held at 8:00pm on Sunday (today).

Essa said that KESC had a good chance of winning the title.

“Although National Bank have so far played extremely well. They have a few good young players also but our team is also a balanced one and I believe that we will be able to win the title,” Essa said.

National Bank coach Nasir Ismail said that the final would be interesting.

“You know the game style of both the KESC and National Bank is the same and it would be a cracking clash,” said Nasir.

“Although KESC have mature strikers in the shape of Abdul Salam and Mohammad Rasool but I am also happy with the way our Farooq Shah is playing. Abdul Aziz and Attiqullah are also in good shape which is a healthy sign for us,” he added.

This is a fine opportunity for Nasir to prove his worth as a coach. National Bank last won any title in 1993 at the same venue while KESC were the runners-up of the previous two editions and would be looking to break their title jinx today.

from: The News