Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: No foreign-based player is under consideration for Pakistan football team’s tour to Lebanon, an official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) confirmed on Tuesday.
“Yes, Pakistan team will tour Lebanon without foreign-based players as coach Mohammed Shamlan wants to give opportunity to home-based players,” the official told ‘The News’.
Pakistan team, carrying under-22 players, will face Lebanon in an international friendly in Beirut on February 19.
The purpose behind the tour is to prepare the team for the 2015 Under-22 Asian Cup Qualifiers and Asian Games to be held this year.
“You know, most of the foreign-based players are over-age and they also normally don’t join camp in time. That is why the coach is reluctant to keep them in the team for the Lebanon tour,” the official said.
But the official was quick to add that for the next year’s assignments those foreign-based players who can join the camp in time would be provided opportunity to play for Pakistan. In the Asian Games, three over-age players may be fielded by each team.
A short camp for the tour will start at Lahore on February 10, soon after the end of the Pakistan Premier Football League, which is close to its climax. Hasan Baloch (KESC) and Tanvir Ahmed (WAPDA) will accompany the team as assistant coaches. Aslam Khan will be the goal-keeping coach.
Former Fulham defender Zeeshan Rehman, Denmark-based goalie Yousuf Butt, strikers Hasan Bashir, Mohammad Ali, defender Yaqoob Butt, England-based left-back Shabbir Khan, midfielder Adnan Ahmed and defender Atif Bashir are the prominent foreign-based players who have been part of the team in recent years. Zeeshan served as skipper of Pakistan senior team in the Peace Cup last October.