By Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Team Pakistan, comprising of the 2014 Street Child World Cup players, made an impressive start at the Norway Cup by defeating local club Nest-Sotra 4-0 in Oslo as they aim to qualify for the quarter-finals at the world’s second largest tournament for young footballers.
This is Pakistan’s second appearance in the Norway Cup, as last year they reached the quarter-finals and now require two more wins to reach the last-eight.
Captain Razik Mushtaq and Hammad Amjad scored in the first half to give Pakistan a 2-0 lead, while Ayaz Anwar and Muhammad Naeem scored one apiece in the second half to complete the 4-0 rout.
Meanwhile, the team also got a chance to meet Norwegian professional league player, Ghayas Zahid, who is of Pakistani descent and is currently in the process to join Italian Serie A giants AS Roma from Tippeligaen club Vålerenga. Azad Foundation Director Itfan Maqbool — the organisation and man responsible for preparing the team for the tournaments — expressed his delight at the meeting.
“It was heartening and very motivating for our team to have met Zahid,” Maqbool told The Express Tribune. “He seemed very impressed from the performance in the first match. In fact he admitted that although he is of Pakistani origin, he still could not get enough Pakistanis to watch his performance, while the Street Child World Cup team from Pakistan has gathered a good following in Norway too.”
Pakistan is slotted in Group 42 in a tournament featuring 126 nations and 1,600 teams.