By Umaid Wasim
KARACHI: Having come very close to a move to England in the summer before seeing it collapse, Mohammad Adil isn’t giving up.
The Pakistan winger was offered a two-year contract by Championship side Derby County in the summer after he impressed their manager Paul Clement with his performances for Kyrgyz giants FC Dordoi Bishkek.
But by then he’d already signed a contract extension with the Bishkek giants, effectively ending his chances of playing in the English second-tier till January at least.
“In June I’d already signed a contract extension with Dordoi for another six months and the offer from Derby came in the first week of July,” the 23-year-old told Dawn in a telephone interview from Bishkek on Tuesday in which he shared the details of his contract.
The contract also had a renewal option after the first six months and the club, which last featured in the English Premier League in the 2007-08 season, wanted him to come to England the very next week and sign a contract.
“I didn’t want to leave Dordoi like that because the club has helped me grow tremendously and I wanted to leave it on good terms,” he said.
The summer transfer window ended but Adil is now looking at the window in January where he hopes Derby’s interest would re-ignite.
“They really needed a winger in the summer which is why they were keen on signing me,” he said. “I’ve been in touch with the club though and I hope that we can reach an agreement in January.”
Adil shone into prominence at Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) where he won three successive Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) titles from 2011 to 2013 whilst also guiding the side to the final of the AFC President’s Cup in 2013.
His explosive runs and a keen eye for goal then saw him become the first Pakistan player to be offered a professional contract when he was signed up by Dordoi in January 2014.
He’d like to leave the club, though, by adding another Kyrgyz Shoro Top League title to the one he won in his first season at the club.
“I’d love to leave on a high by helping the club to the league title this year,” he said, “… that will be the best way to leave.”
With five games remaining in the league, Dordoi trail leaders Alay Osh — who have played a game more — by five points.
“I think it’s achievable, Alay do have a lead at the moment but I believe we can overhaul them,” he said.
Not only is Adil thinking about giving back to his club but he’s also looking at giving back something to his country.
He plans to start an academy in his hometown of Bahawalpur where he’s looking to unearth the next Adil.
“I want to give something back to my hometown,” he said. “And I guess there is nothing better than to start an academy which will help produce the next generation of Pakistan’s footballing stars.”
He’s already purchased land for the academy which will be after his name.
“In Bahawalpur, there are some 100 registered cricket clubs while just 25 football clubs,” he said. “Bahawalpur has the potential to produce footballers who can play at the highest level and I plan to do that.
“My emphasis would be to encourage players from the ages of 8-10 to start playing football and I’ll also call up some of Pakistan’s top coaches for training sessions there.”
Adil hoped that the dispute within the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) — which split into two factions in the lead-up to its presidential elections in June — is resolved soon.
“It’s hurting football,” he said. “It’s the players who are suffering. The PFF should focus on building grounds and facilities for the players to train but it hasn’t done that over the years.”
He hopes with the resolution of the dispute in the PFF, the national team will be able to compete in the SAFF Championship which will be held in India in December.
“The SAFF Championship offers the players a good platform to showcase our skill,” he said, adding that Pakistan had a “good chance” at the tournament after being drawn against arch-rivals India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Group ‘A’.