PFF NC calls 90 players for three-day trials [The News]

PFF NC calls 90 players for three-day trials [The News]

KARACHI: Finally national footballers will get relief following years of inactivity at the top level as Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee has invited 90 players for three-day trials in order to pick probables for the men’s senior team camp for future national duty.

NC has informed all departments and clubs through a circular, requesting them to direct their players to report to NC on August 27 at Lahore by 4pm for trials which will be conducted from August 28-30. But surprisingly the country’s seasoned striker and former Pakistan captain Kaleemullah is not in the list which has been intercepted by this correspondent.

According to sources close to Kaleem, the star striker is available and is not happy with his omission.

Kaleem last played for Iraq’s Zakho FC in 2019, the year in which FIFA installed the PFF NC in order to hold the PFF elections. “I think it was the responsibility of the coaching panel and other concerned to at least call Kaleem and seek his input about his availability,” the source close to Kaleem said.

There is a general notion that Kaleem has retired although he has not announced retirement.

The source said that Kaleem is in Pakistan these days and is available for national duty. Most of the players at the national circuit are quite rusty because the country conducted its last premier league in 2018-2019.

When head coach Shehzad Anwar was contacted he said that he is busy and he will get an update about Kaleem’s matter on Thursday.

The NC plans to conduct training camp from August 31 to November 15 after shortlisting the probables through trials which will be held under the supervision of Shehzad Anwar, a pro license coach.

Meanwhile, NC said in a brief statement that the selection process for the formation of Pakistan senior football team will start from August 27.

“In the first phase, 90 players have been invited that include the players nominated by the qualified coaches while their past performances were also kept in mind. The players will be shortlisted after evaluating the performance and fitness of the players during the training camp,” NC chairman Haroon Malik was quoted as saying.

Haroon added, as per press release, that NC is eager to resume domestic and international activities as soon as possible.

“The training camp is in progress for the preparation of SAFF Women’s Football Championship. On the other hand, NC is in close contact with friendly nations to host international matches. Before any final decision the selection process has been started to form the national football team,” said Haroon.

According to sources, the country’s mainstream coaches Sajjad Mahmood, Mohammad Habib and Tanvir Ahmad have been interviewed and Nasir Ismail, Aslam Khan, Jaffar Khan, Zahid Taj, Mohammad Essa and Tariq Lutfi may also be interviewed to finalise the coaching panel.

A source said that Palestine is expected to play friendlies in Pakistan. However, another source said that its chance is not that big.

Published in The News, 25 August 2022