Pakistan U16s eye title defence in Kathmandu

Published in The News

KARACHI: Pakistan Under-16 football team will fly out of Lahore for Kathmandu on Thursday (today) to feature in the 2nd Under-16 SAFF Championship which will be staged from July 20 to 30 at the Dashrath Stadium and Nepal Army Physical Centre.

The team under head coach Sajjad Mehmood will proceed to Kathmandu via Muscat. The managers’ meeting will be held on Friday (tomorrow) in which the draws will also be made. However, being finalists of the inaugural edition also held in the Nepalese capital in 2011 both archrivals India and Pakistan will be put in the separate groups.

Pakistan had defeated India 2-1 in the final of the first edition two years ago to lift the title. Sajjad was also the coach of that team.

On Wednesday, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) officially unveiled the 20-man squad that will be defending the title in the eight-nation event.

Midfielder Salman Rahim from Sindh has been made skipper while right fullback Rashid Khan from Punjab will be his deputy during the slots.

Coach Sajjad Mehmood said that his team has the guts to defend the title. “We have formed a good side and most of the players have international experience and we are confident that we will once again live up to the expectations,” he told ‘The News’ from Lahore.

As many as 45 players had been picked for the camp out of which 20 have been finalised after around 20 days of training at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.

Sanjiv Mishra and Indraman Tuladhar, both from Nepal, will be acting as match commissioners during the 11-day affair.

Nepal opted to host t championship after the remaining seven South Asian countries did not show any interest in holding it.

Squad: Mohammad Junaid, Wali Khan, Mohammad Shahbaz, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Zoaib, Mohammad Shoaib, Adnan Ashraf, Salman Rahim, Faisal Hassan, Muneer Ahmed, Zain-ul-Abideen, Mateen Akram, Zulfiqar, Arslan Ali, Mohammad Waleed Ayaz, Abdul Saboor, Rajab Ali, Adnan Khaliq, Hamza Shabir, Mohammad Mohsin Fareed, Officials: Sajjad Mehmood (head coach), Hassan Baloch (assistant coach), Nouman Ibrahim (goalkeeping coach), Kamran Mehdi (physiotherapist), Rana Naseer Ahmed (FIFA referee).