Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan football players were not mentally and physically fit enough to play the friendly against Afghanistan in Kabul because they had spent several sleepless hours and the weather condition there was quite different, writes Alam Zeb Safi.
“Naturally when you are to travel early in the morning you cannot take sound sleep at night. The players did not take enough sleep in the night between August 18 and 19. At around 4:00am to 4:30am, the team left Lahore for Islamabad Airport on August 19 and reached Kabul at around 4:30 pm,” a source said.
“After keeping their luggage in hotel the condition of the payers was very bad. Every one wanted to take some rest. But the coach told them that they will have to undergo a light training. And after an hour-long training when the players returned to their hotel most of them did not take enough rest the whole night due to fatigue,” said the source.
And then after a few hours they had to play against the hosts, the source said. “It is not easy to play without taking proper rest.”
He said it was also not easy to acclimatise with the Kabul weather so soon. “After landing in Kabul our lips got dry and most of the players had headache. It was also difficult to breathe there as Kabul is at a high altitude,” the source said.
“At the dinner at the Pakistan’s embassy on August 21 Pakistani ambassador told us that we should have come three to four days before the game as it is not easy to acclimatise with the Kabul conditions in a few hours,” the source said.
Sources said that the Pakistani players had also not been given special boots which are used for playing on an artificial turf.
‘The News’ learnt that during the training camp in Lahore the players were also not being given good diet.
“Mostly the players had been taking food with large amounts of fats which is not good for keeping proper fitness,” a source said.
Some players had even complained to the coach about the poor quality of food. Sources said that the players remained disturbed during most of the training in the Punjab capital.