NBP gear up to defend National Challenge Cup [Express Tribune]

NBP gear up to defend National Challenge Cup [Express Tribune]

Sports Correspondent – Express Tribune

KARACHI: Despite finishing ninth in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), NBP are eager to defend their title at the National Football Challenge Cup that begins this month.

NBP coach Nasir Ismail feels that his team has talented young players who can pull off a surprise performance against big clubs like PPFL champions KRL in the 10-day tournament that starts in Karachi on March 25.

“Although my team finished ninth in the PPFL, we are confident that we can win the Challenge Cup again,” Ismail told The Express Tribune.

The National Challenge Cup is the country’s second biggest domestic tournament after PPFL.

Ismail also thinks that holding the tournament in Karachi will give his team an advantage.

“Karachi is our home ground so it will suit us better,” said Ismail. “However, the law and order situation in some parts of the city forced a delayed start to our Saturday practice as some of the players come from Lyari.”

Ismail said that his team includes young talent and that is his biggest asset.

“We have young players like Munir Ahmed who scored and won a match for us against KRL in the PPFL,” said Ismail.

He further added that NBP’s strategy will be to score more goals.

“Any team that will score first will have a better chance and that is our strategy,” said the coach.

The National Challenge Cup will also be a test for KRL, who have lost two of their key scorers Kaleemullah and Muhammad Aadil to Kyrgyzstan’s FC Dordoi recently.

The tournament will also feature KESC, Wapda, PIA, KPT, HBL, Navy, Pak-Afghan Clearing Agency, HEC and Pakistan Police.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2014.