Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Former Fulham defender Zeeshan Rehman is expected to lead Pakistan football team which is likely to leave for Philippines on Thursday (today) to feature in the three-nation Philippines Peace Cup to be held from October 11 to 15.
The Hong Kong-based player, who did a great job in the SAFF Cup in Nepal recently, is the strongest candidate for captaincy for the brief tour after skipper Samar Ishaq did not attend the camp due to illness. Zesh, along with Danish strikers Hasan Bashir, Mohammad Ali and gloveman Yousuf Butt will join the Pakistan team in the Philippines.
“We will decide about the skipper tomorrow,” Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi told The News.
The players were issued visas on Wednesday and there is more chance that the team will leave for Manila most probably on Thursday (today).
Following KRL’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup campaign, their players Samar Ishaq, Kamran Khan and Zia-us-Salam did not join Pakistan camp in Lahore.
This would be the first official tour for Pakistan’s newly appointed coach Mohamed Shamlan as head coach. He had acted as a consultant during Pakistan’s campaign in the SAFF Cup after the PFF sacked former Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic after his side lost to Afghanistan 0-3 in Kabul on August 20 in a friendly.
Shamlan has finalised the 20-man squad for the Peace Cup during which the Greenshirts will play their first game against Chinese Taipei on October 13 and hosts Philippines on October 15.
Shamlan hoped that the team would click in the Peace Cup which is FIFA sanctioned tournament being regularly organised by the Philippines Football Federation (PFF) on FIFA days every year.
“Although this is the first time that I will be acting as coach of Pakistan and am confident that the team would perform,” Shamlan told The News.
He said that his doors were open for all those players who had guts, saying, it was just the beginning and he would try his level best to hunt all the budding players for the future use.
Chitral-born striker Mohammad Rasool, who had been specifically invited to the camp, failed to make a place in the touring party.
“Rasool is a good player and has good striking ability but he has little bit fitness problem which needs some attention. Doors are open for him and he will be considered in the future if he is able to regain the sort of fitness and form required for international games,” Shamlan said.
Pakistan squad: Saqib Hanif, Muzammil Hussain, Yousuf Butt, Mohammad Ahmed, Ahsanullah, Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Hameed, Mohammad Sufyan, Mehmood Khan, Syed Arif, Bilawal-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Bilal, Zainullah, Kaleemullah, Mohammad Aadil, Zeeshan Rehman, Hasan Bashir, Mohammad Ali, Rizwan Asif, Saddam Hussain, Officials: Mohamed Shamlan (head coach), Shehzad Anwar (assistant coach), Aslam Khan (goalkeeping coach), Dr Kamran Mehdi (physiotherapist).