LAHORE: National footballers on Thursday started assembling in Islamabad to kick-start their preparations for the second round Group G competitions in connection with the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers which will begin later this month.
According to sources some players on Thursday reported for the camp. Sources said that Ali Khan is working as manager for the time being.
Sources said that coach Stephen Constantine has got Pakistan’s visa and he will arrive in the wee hours of Saturday (tomorrow) and is highly expected to handle the first session of the camp in the evening at the Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad, which will also host three home legs of the round which will be conducted in three different phases until June.
Sources said that Italian performance coach Claudio Altieri will also arrive on Saturday. However, sources said that the arrival schedule of the Brazilian goalkeeping coach Regerio Ramos is not yet confirmed. The camp earlier was scheduled to begin from November 1 but was delayed for a few days due to Stephen Constantine’s visa issue.
Besides Pakistan the Group G contains Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Jordan. As per schedule of the second round Pakistan will meet Saudi Arabia in their away leg in Dammam on November 16.
On November 21 Pakistan will host Tajikistan at the Jinnah Stadium Islamabad.
On March 21 Pakistan will host Jordan and on March 26 Jordan will host Pakistan.
On June 6 Pakistan will host Saudi Arabia while on June 11 Tajikistan will host Pakistan.
The leading two teams from the group will qualify for the third round.
Pakistan recently created history when they conquered Cambodia 1-0 in Islamabad on October 17 to make it to the second round.
This is the first time that the Green-shirts qualified for the second round and it was also the first-ever victory for Pakistan in it’s World Cup Qualifiers history since it appeared for the first time in the 1990 World Cup Qualifiers.