Asian Games, SAFF Cup Hassan ready to play for Pakistan [The News]

Asian Games, SAFF Cup Hassan ready to play for Pakistan [The News]

by Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: Denmark-based Pakistan football captain Hassan Bashir on Monday said that he is fully fit and will be available for Pakistan duty for Asian Games and SAFF Cup to be held later this summer.

“Last year I had developed a muscles injury, but since January this year I have been training hard and have played some matches for my club,” told ‘The News’ from Denmark. “I am fully fit now and will come to Lahore in the middle of June to join Pakistan’s camp for Asian Games and SAFF Cup,” said Hassan.

“I will be available for both the events,” the striker said.Hassan plays for Greve Fodbold, Denmark’s second division club. Pakistan’s Denmark-based striker Mohammad Ali and goalkeeper Yousuf Butt also play for the same club. Ali and Yousuf are also under consideration for the two events.

When asked how he sees Pakistan’s return to international circuit after three years, Hassan said he was very happy to see the country back.“I am really happy that Pakistan is back in international circuit. But at the same time one cannot ignore three wasted years. But after all it’s a moment of joy that Pakistan is returning to international football,” the 31-year-old player said.

About coaching staff the PFF has built for preparing national under-23 and senior team, Hassan said it was a great effort. “The PFF has built a very strong coaching panel. Brazilian coach has come and the federation has also hired a physical trainer from Brazil which is good. As Pakistani players mostly did not get football during the last three years, his presence will help them a lot.

“Shehzad Anwar also knows the game very well. I think it’s a strong coaching team,” Hassan said.“And the induction of both Mohammad Essa and Jaffar Khan in the coaching panel is great. They are legends. They are the role models. Their presence in the coaching panel will be inspiring for the boys,” Hassan said.

Asked whether he intended to coach Pakistan after retirement, Hassan said his plan was to play football for three to four more years and after that he certainly would be looking forward to contribute to Pakistan’s football development as coach, assistant coach or in any other capacity. “It’s my desire to work for Pakistan’s football and want to see the sport flourish in the country,” the player said.

The national team camp has been in progress since Friday at the Model Town Ground Lahore.

Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira is supervising the camp. Pakistan will feature in the 18th Asian Games slated to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2 and SAFF Cup to be conducted in Bangladesh from September 5-14. In the Asian Games, an under-23 team, with three seniors, will be fielded. In the SAFF Cup a complete senior side will be fielded.

Published in The News, 29 May 2018