By Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions K-Electric (K-E) will depart to compete at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup qualifiers in Bhutan on Saturday, hoping to progress past the first round which requires at least a win and a draw in two matches.
They will be led by former national captain Essa Khan, who feels that it will not only be a big test but also an honour to finally represent Pakistan at the AFC event.
“In my entire career I’ve never been given this opportunity before,” the Chaman-based striker told The Express Tribune. “It’s a golden opportunity for us. I really need the best performance out of me and the team as this tournament can open more windows of opportunity. It’s the first time in my career that I’ll be playing this event and it’s going to be very special.”
K-E, included in Group A, will face hosts Druk United on August 11, while their second fixture will be against Mongolia’s Khoromkhon FC on August 13.
The club’s Head of Sports Marketing and Brand Activation Zabe Khan said it had been essential to provide the squad the best of facilities before the tournament in order to get a winning-performance out of them.
K-E had set up their camp at the Steel Mills facility and brought in Majid Shafiq, an England Football Association certified coach, to train them.
The team also played an exhibition match with cricketers Younus Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asad Shafiq and Anwar Ali on Thursday.
“We are not going Bhutan to participate, we are going there to win,” said Zabe. “We’ve assured that it’s not just a K-E team; these players will be representing the country at the AFC Cup. Our dress code and our kit puts the country first. We’ve given the best facilities to the players because we don’t want them to worry about anything else but the game, and hopefully we’ll win the first stage.”
Squad: Mohammad Essa (captain), Mohammad Rasool, Oludeyi Abayomi Sunday, Wilson Segun, Shani Abbasi, Irfan Khan, Mohammad Riaz, Noor Mohammad, Habib-ur-Rehman, Abdul Rehman, Aurangzeb Baba, Hayatullah, Wali Khan, Ghulam Nabi, Jehangir Khan, Aurangzeb Senior, Mohammad Moosa, Mohammad Farooq; Officials: Majid Shafiq (head coach), Hasan Baloch, Akbar Ali (both assistant coaches), Zabe Khan (manager), Usama Qureshi (head delegate), Mujtaba Hussain (interpreter), Mohammad Imran (trainer).
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2015.