Pakistan humbled by Afghanistan in Kabul [Tribune]


By Natasha Raheel

Pakistan lost to Afghanistan 3-0 in the friendly match in Kabul yesterday, a result that upset the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).

The PFF expressed concerns about the work of national coach Zavisa Milosavjlevic with the team.
After conceding two goals in the first half, Afghan striker Mohammad Maroof sealed the victory with the third goal in the second.
The friendly match exposed the team’s deficiencies as they could only manage five attempts on goal compared to Afghanistan’s 14, with the hosts having more than 75 percent of the possession through out the match.
Both teams played the match to prepare for the South Asian Football (Saff) Championship that will begin in Nepal on September 1.

The PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said that the match highlighted the difference between the coaches of the two teams. He added that the defeat was also an eye-opener for the coach just two weeks before the Saff Championship. “Although Afghanistan played with their full team and a couple of our players were missing, the team just performed badly,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune.

“We wanted to gauge our preparation for the Saff Championship with this match. But it just showed that we are not a strong side. All the responsibility lies with the coaches. This match was aimed at providing international exposure to the team, but these players have already played 20 international matches since 2012, so they can’t complain about the exposure anymore.”
Lodhi pointed out that the match was played on an astro-turf and Pakistan players had trouble with the pace of the game.

Before leaving for Kabul, striker Kaleemullah had expressed his concerns about the pitch.
“We are not used to playing on the astro-turf, so Afghanistan might have an edge over us,” said Kallemullah.

Despite the defeat, former national striker Arif Mehmood said that the match will prove beneficial for the team at the Saff Championship.
“The level of competition has improved at the Saff Championship as well,” he said. “With practice matches like these, they can improve their game a lot and overcome their weaknesses.”