by Alam Zeb Safi
LAHORE: Denmark-based skipper Hassan Bashir and the country’s premier goalie Saqib Hanif were on Wednesday dropped as Pakistan announced its senior football team for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Cambodia.
The opener of the qualifiers will be held on October 12 in Cambodia with the second leg to be conducted at the Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad on October 17.
Both Hassan and Saqib did not impress during Pakistan’s recent campaigns in Mauritius and India. However, surprisingly the management has retained Denmark-based gloveman Yousuf Butt whose performance was also questionable during Pakistan’s senior team’s recent stints.
English coach Stephen Constantine joined the team only the other day and it will be interesting to see how he gets the best out of the bunch which includes seven foreign-based players.
Besides Yousuf Butt, Easah Suliman, Abdullah Iqbal, Harun Hamid, Rahis Nabi, Abdul Samad and Otis Khan are the others who have been retained in the squad. All these foreign-based players were part of Pakistan team during its preparations for the Qualifiers during the last one year under head coach Shehzad Anwar who has been sacked and now replaced by Stephen Constantine, a former manager of the Indian team.
Goalkeepers: Usman Ali, Salman-ul-Haq, Yousuf Butt;
Defenders: Mamoon Moosa Khan, Mohibullah, Sohail Khan, Junaid Shah, Ali Khan Niazi, Rao Umar Hayat, Abdullah Iqbal, Easah Suliman;
Midfielders: Alamgir Ghazi, Ali Uzair, Rajab Ali, Nizamuddin, Harun Hamid, Rahis Nabi;
Forwards: Waleed Khan, Mohammad Waheed, Yousuf, Fareed Khan, Abdul Samad, Otis Khan, Moin Ahmed, Shayak Dost.