Street child team advances to Norway Cup knockouts [Express Tribune]

Street child team advances to Norway Cup knockouts [Express Tribune]

by Natasha Raheel

KARACHI: Team Pakistan of 2014 Street Child World Cup fame continued their unbeaten run at the 2016 Norway Cup as they crushed local football club Sykkylven IL 4-0 in Oslo, Norway yesterday.

With the win, Pakistan topped Group B with seven points and a goal difference of +14.

In their last group match of the U16 event, the team took the lead in the 15th minute through Hammad Amjad.

Muhammad Naeem, who also won a gold medal and made a record at the Street Child Games in Rio earlier this year, doubled the lead in the 45th minute. Captain and midfielder Raziq Mushtaq then scored the third goal and Ubaid Ahmed sealed the win in the last minute.

“It’s been a great tournament so far and we’re confident,” Naeem told The Express Tribune. “We play on sand back home, but we practiced non-stop to get accustomed to the grass here.”

Pakistan scored 10 goals in their opening match, then drew 1-1 in the second and have now qualified for the round-of-64 after yesterday’s victory.

Team official Naveed Hassan Khan said’ morale is high after the team topped their group. 

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

Previous News Reports:

Street child team draw second match

KARACHI: Pakistan’s street child team continues to lead their group at the Norway Cup despite drawing 1-1 against local football club Melhus IL on the second day of the competition in Oslo, Norway yesterday.

Pakistan had begun their campaign at the biggest youth football tournament in the world with a stellar performance, defeating Tertnes Fotball Herrer 10-0. However, they faced tricky opponents in Melhus IL.

The team consists of players who won the bronze medal at the 2014 Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

They will need to finish at the top of their Group B — which has three other sides — to advance to the knockout stages.

So far, Pakistan are leading with a massive goal difference of 10 and are likely to make it to the next round.

“Melhus IL remains undefeated since last year,” team manager Itfan Maqbool told The Express Tribune. “We need to be more tactical in our last group match and make sure that we carry on the momentum. We know that the tournament will only get tougher from this point.”

Maqbool added that with the event featuring 2,199 clubs in different age-categories this year, competition is tougher as compared to the last edition due to the presence of more teams and better players from across Europe.

Pakistan will play Sykkylven IL today in their last pool match.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.

Street child team win 10-0 against Norwegian side

KARACHI: Team Pakistan — brought to global limelight with their third-placed finish at the 2014 Street Child World Cup — opened their campaign at the Norway Cup in style as they thrashed Tertnes Fotball Herrer 10-0 in Oslo yesterday.

This is the third time Pakistan are participating at the tournament, known as the biggest youth football event in the world with 2,199 teams this year.

Last year, Pakistan reached the semi-finals but will be looking to go even further this time around. And they sent out an ominous message with the thrashing, which included a hat-trick from Muhammad Dilshad, a teenager who belongs to Karachi’s Mauripur area. Striker Obaid Ahmed and Pakistan’s star sprinter at the Rio Street Child Games Muhammad Naeem grabbed a brace each.

“This time we need to win the cup,” captain Razik Mushtaq told The Express Tribune. “We need to play as a unit and should win it as we are here for the third time. I want to lift that trophy.”

Pakistan are in Group B with four other clubs and need to win two more matches to qualify for the knockouts.

This is the last time that Raziq and the 2014 Street Child World Cup squad members will be playing in the tournament’s U16 event.

Team manager Itfan Maqbool revealed spectators were surprised by his side’s performance and praised them for their impressive start.

“The Norwegian players are in better shape in terms of their height and health, but our talent shone through,” said Maqbool. “We are happy that our players performed so well despite coming from such humble backgrounds and without having access to the kind of facilities that their European counterparts have.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2016.