Friendly Preview: India vs. Pakistan

Friendly Preview: India vs. Pakistan

By Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor, Islamabad

Pak Shaheens face the Blue Tigers in front of a home crowd at the Bangalore Stadium at 3:00 PM (PST) tomorrow in the first a of two-match series.

Form Guide:


Wim Koevermans’ squad has been preparing for the Asian Games and started training in July, followed by an exposure tour to Czech Republic, where they played local sides and earned a draw from three games.

The Dutchman has been slowly trying to infuse a total-football philosophy into the side but admits that it will take some time before they start getting the fruits of their labour.


Unlike their Indian counter-parts, the Pak Shaheens have been preparing for the Asian Games since February, having playing against Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Palestine and Indonesia. However, the results have been far from impressive with the only win coming against a weakened Sri Lankan outfit at the Al-Nakba Cup in May.

Nonetheless, coach Mohammad Al-Shamlan insists that the team is young and is capable of producing results in the future.

Team News:


India have gone for a very strong attack in their squad, having utilized two of the available three over-age slots for captain Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh (Both Bengaluru FC), both of whom start up-front for the senior team as well.

Francis Fernandes (Salgaocar FC) is the 3rd overage player and gives them a superb option on the flank, where his experience and speed can be used against full-backs. Besides the trio of senior players, the remaining squad hasn’t had much experience at International level, something which Pakistan could exploit in the two friendlies.


Coach Shamlan hasn’t utilized his overage slots and the only senior player in the squad is Mohammad Ahmed, who is being used out of position as a centre-back. However, there are some positives in the young side, with former U-16 hero Mansoor Khan (PAF) being given a chance to shine up-front alongside skipper Kaleemullah.

The lanky striker has been in extremely impressive form for FC Dordoi Bishkek, leading the scoring charts with 17 goals in 16 games. And being the most expensive player in the Kyrgyzstan league, he will be Pakistan’s main goal threat as they face their arch-rivals.

Influential winger Mohammad Adil (FC Dordoi Bishkek) is nursing a knee-injury and is expected to sit out the game, with Bilawal-ur-Rehman (KRL) taking his place on the right flank. Box-to-box midfielder Saddam Hussain, who has also been snapped by FC Dordoi Bishkek, is the Shaheens’ main source of controlling the tempo of the game and he will have Mehmood Khan (KRL FC) to support him in attack, while K-Electric’s Mohammad Riaz will be starting on the left flank.

In defence, Pakistan have looked extremely fragile with Ahmed being played out of position alongside rookie defender Bilal. On the right, vice-captain Faisal Iqbal (NBP FC) brings solidarity and experience, while Ehsanullah (KRL FC) will be looking to improve his below-par outings on the left.

Though coach Shamlan has a bevy of goalkeeping options to choose from, Ahsanullah (HBL FC) is the first-choice having been promoted from the U-16s and shown a lot of promise since his debut against Lebanon in February.

Pakistan's expected line-up against India tomorrow.
Pakistan’s expected line-up against India tomorrow.

Key Players:

India: Sunil Chhetri

The Indian skipper is in hot form and will be looking to score goals against a weak Pakistan defence, having been denied several times in last year’s clash at the 2013 SAFF Championship.

Pakistan: Kaleemullah

Pakistan and FC Dordoi Bishkek star Kaleemullah is capable of scoring goals and will be looking to lift the nation on his against a hostile crowd in Bangalore.

Author Prediction:

India 2-0 Pakistan 

Matches will be telecasted LIVE on Geo Super. Follow’s website, facebook and twitter pages for live updates at 3:00 pm tomorrow (Sunday 17th, August)