2016 AFC Cup: Essa pumped up ahead of KE’s ‘biggest match’ [Express Tribune]

2016 AFC Cup: Essa pumped up ahead of KE’s ‘biggest match’ [Express Tribune]

by Natasha Raheel

KARACHI: Former national player and K-Electric (KE) captain Mohammad Essa believes his side’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup qualifying play-off round against Bahrain club Al-Hidd FC is their biggest match ever.

KE, who are the reigning Pakistan Premier Football League cha mpions, are looking to create history as they bid to become the first club from Pakistan to reach the main round of the regional tier-two tournament, and Essa is hopeful that the team would deliver.

“This is KE’s biggest match and a milestone for us for sure,” Essa told The Express Tribune at a press conference held at KE headquarters.

“The way we are all pumped up for the match makes it feel as if we are representing our national side.It is a sentiment that every player in the side shares with me. We will try to give our best in the match and hopefully create history.”

Essa, who has previously worked under Al-Hidd coach Salman Sharida when he was coaching Pakistan, believes the former national coach would pose a formidable threat and KE would have to be at their best if they are to overcome their opponents.

“Al-Hidd is a strong side and Sharida is a formidable coach,” said Essa. “I want us to be completely focused on the task ahead because our opponents will not just roll over and allow us to win.”

KE will leave for Bahrain on February 7, while they face Al-Hidd FC on February 9.

If they manage to win, they will be slotted in Group A alongside Jordan’s Al-Wehdat FC, Lebanon’s Al-Ahed and Turkmenistan Altyn Asyr FC in the main round.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd,  2016.