Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Denmark-based striker Mohammad Ali will not represent Pakistan football team in the friendly matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan later this month, but he will be part of the team for the SAFF Cup in Nepal early September.
“Yes, Ali will be coming directly for the SAFF Cup because he has club commitments in Denmark and cannot represent Pakistan in friendlies against Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) secretary Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told ‘The News’ on Monday. “He is a good striker and we need his services for the SAFF Cup,” Lodhi said.
He was part of the Pakistan team in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan earlier this year.Ali, who has relatives living in Quetta, plays for Boldklubben Avarta in the Danish 2nd Division East, the third best league in Denmark.
The other four foreign-based players, Denmark-based striker Hasan Bashir, goalkeeper Yousuf Butt and England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmed and midfielder Amjad Iqbal, are scheduled to join the team in Dhaka where Zavisa Milosavljevic charges will play two friendlies against Bangladesh on August 13 and 16 in order to prepare for the SAFF Cup 2013 starting in Kathmandu from September 1-11.
Both Hasan and Yousuf Butt were part of the Pakistan team in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan.Adnan, who has been a regular for Pakistan, missed the qualifiers due to fitness issues while Amjad last played in 2009 SAFF Cup in Bangladesh when Austrian coach George Kottan was in charge of the team.
Injury forced Amjad to stay away from action for almost three and a half years. Amjad, who plays for Bradford Park Avenue, will have to prove his fitness in the coming friendlies.After the Bangladesh tour, Pakistan will play a game against Afghanistan in Kabul on August 20.Currently 19 local players are training in Lahore and are due to leave for Dhaka on August 12.