Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Pakistan’s key midfielder Mohammad Adil admitted that playing for the country is tougher than playing for a professional club.
Adil along with his national and FC Dordoi teammate Kaleemullah is back home for a month-long break from Kyrgyzstan’s football league season. Both players are hoping to represent the country in the India-Pakistan series that kicks off August 17 in Bangalore.
The duo became the first home-bred Pakistani footballers to sign professional contracts with a central Asian club earlier this year.
As a national player and a professional club footballer, Adil believes that the long-standing club-versus-national team debate is valid.
“Playing for Pakistan is serious business,” Adil told The Express Tribune from his home-town Bahawalpur. “There is so much at stake, but more importantly there is a lot more pressure when we are representing the country. It’s stricter in terms of the game plan.
“We know that we have more responsibility towards our fans and our coaches. Now I feel further pressure because I will be expected to outplay my teammates due to my international exposure with FC Dordoi. It will be essential to deliver.
“But when we are playing for the club, we get a chance to enjoy ourselves a little more. Club football gives us enough time to shine on our own.”
Participation in series not confirmed
Adil and Kaleemullah will confirm their participation in the upcoming India-Pakistan bilateral series this week.
“There is a 70% chance that both of us will participate, but I can’t say anything at the moment,” said Adil. “The India- Pakistan series is always special. It is engaging for everyone, whether it’s football, cricket or hockey.”
Adil also admitted that Pakistan can improve by playing with the toughest football team of the region.
“India are undoubtedly the strongest team in South Asia. Their league system is better than ours and their team is also very competitive. Having a bilateral series is a great tool to promote peace in the region as well.”
Meanwhile, Kaleemullah said that he will join the camp in Lahore on August 7.
“I’ll be going to the camp because it’s about our national team,” said Kaleemullah. “I’m in Chaman at the moment, and the only thing that’s in my way is the new passport which I will get from Quetta. I’m prepared for the series though.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2014.