by Alam Zeb Safi
LAHORE: Pakistan will be desperately looking to stay alive when they face Kuwait in their Group A second round match of the SAFF Championship 2023 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka, on Saturday (today).
The match begins at 3pm.
Following a 4-0 defeat at the hands of India in their opener the other day, a win is necessary for the Green-shirts to stay in contention. The team did practice on Thursday and Friday.
Kuwait are a strong side. They defeated Nepal 3-1 in their first show the other day.
Kuwait are featuring in the event as invitees.
Pakistan’s head coach Shehzad Anwar is confident to pull off a win in the vital game.
“The players are passionate to produce a good result tomorrow,” Shehzad told The News from Bengaluru on Friday.
Shehzad will be under scanner following a few back-to-back defeats to his team during the last few days.
Before coming to India, Pakistan lost against Mauritius, Kenya and Djibouti in a four-nation event in Mauritius.
Shehzad said that they have analysed Kuwait and will play with a strong strategy against them.
“Kuwait, no doubt, is a tough team. They have good domestic structure and have been doing well for the last few months. We analysed them in their game against Nepal the other day and will try to play against them with a strategy on which we also worked today during training,” Shehzad said.
Former Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic said that Pakistan will have to block Kuwait in the middle. “Kuwait play fast football and Pakistan will need to block them in the centre, otherwise, they will become dangerous,” Zavisa told The News from Serbia.
“It will be important not to give them space for counter-attacks,” he said.
He also advised Pakistani players to be watchful inside penalty area.
“Pakistani players will need to be very careful not to make a foul in the penalty area in order to avoid conceding a penalty as it happened in their game against India when they conceded two penalties,” Zavisa said.
He said that Pakistan will have to implement team tactics. “It will be vital to implement team tactics. In football if you concede goal first you lose the game by 80 percent. Pakistan will need to keep the gaps narrow and play with a positive strategy otherwise it will be very difficult for them to stop the nimble-footed Kuwait,” Zavisa said.
In the eight-team event top two sides from each group will make it to the semi-finals.
Pakistan squad: Goalkeepers: Saqib Hanif, Salman-ul-Haq, Yousaf Ijaz Butt; Defenders: Muhammad Umar Hayat, Ali Khan Niazi, Muhammad Sufyan, Mamoon Moosa Khan, Syed Abdullah Shah, Haseeb Ahmed Khan, Sardar Wali, Easah Suliman, Abdullah Iqbal; Midfielders: Alamgir Ali Khan Ghazi, Ali Uzair Mahmood, Moin Ahmed, Shayak Dost, Muhammad Waleed Khan, Rahis Nabi, Harun Hamid, Muhammad Adnan Yaqoob; Forwards: Abdul Samad Shahzad, Otis Jan Mohammad Khan, Hassan Naweed Bashir, Muhammad Waheed