Captain urges football fans to watch Pak-Jordan clash [The News]

Captain urges football fans to watch Pak-Jordan clash [The News]

by Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan football team captain Easah Zaheer Suliman Tuesday urged local fans to turn up in large numbers to support the host nation against the powerful Jordan team during the World Cup qualifying round match scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) here at the Jinnah Stadium.

26-year-old Easah, who plays for Azerbaijan Premier Club as a center-back arrived here the other day to represent his native country against Jordan, said that crowd’s presence will help bring out the best from players.

“I will request the crowd to turn up in numbers and support the local team against the visiting Jordanian outfit. We need support from the local crowd to play our best game on the given day.”

Easah hoped that the crowd would take out time from the month of Ramazan. “I know well that it will not be easy for the crowd in the holy month to feel comfortable in a day game. Still I hope that fans will come out to support us.”

He added that he was excited to join the team the other day. “I am excited on my joining the team ahead of Tuesday’s training session.” The midfielder said he was coming out of club’s commitments so he was in a fine touch.

“The team has been training hard over the last few weeks. Even today we trained hard. Hopefully, the team will show a competitive element during the match against Jordan. I have been busy playing regular football.”

Another national player Umar Hayat also requested the crowd to witness the match as their presence would help the team put up a better show. “We know it is difficult for the general crowd to witness day game while fasting. Yet I request the crowd to take time out and watch the match.”

Meanwhile, Jordan team arrived in Islamabad through a chartered flight late Tuesday. Football fever gripped Jordan following their recent surge to the Asia Cup final for the very first time. Jordan defeated South Korea in the semi-final to make it to the final where the team was beaten by hosts Qatar.

Jordan team earlier was scheduled to land at the Islamabad Airport at around 8pm on Tuesday but later delayed their arrival by two hours. The visiting team is expected to train at the Jinnah Stadium today (Wednesday) before their World Cup match on Thursday.

Published in The News, 20 March 2024

Pakistan players request fans to attend World Cup qualifier against Jordan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s footballers on Tuesday made impassioned appeals to fans to attend the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Jordan here at the Jinnah Stadium on Thursday, saying the home support matters a lot for them.

The national team, under the supervision of English coach Stephen Constantine, has been training at the Jinnah Stadium for the last three days for the match that will kick off at 2pm in the afternoon despite being played in the month of Ramadan.

There were plans for floodlights to be installed at the Jinnah Stadium ahead of the game to ensure the match was played in the night, after fasting hours, but they didn’t materialise and players are requesting fans to turn up for the Group ‘G’ game against Asian Cup finalists Jordan.

“I know during Ramadan it is difficult for people but we are expecting a large number of football fans to turn up,” defender Rao Umar Hayat said in a video message. “I request the fans to come and support us.”

Fellow defender Easah Suliman aired similar views.

Pakistan are rock bottom in Group ‘G’, having lost 4-0 to Saudi Arabia and 6-1 to Tajikistan in their opening two matches and Jordan will be looking to take maximum points against Pakistan in Islamabad and then at home five days later.

Jordan, who lost to Qatar in the Asian Cup final last month, were due to arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday night. “They will reach here around 10:30pm,” a PFF spokesperson told Dawn.

Pakistan expected to have the services of Adil Nabi and Etzaz Hussain, who play in Cyprus and Norway respectively, for the two games against Jordan but the midfield duo, who recently received clearance to play for the country of their origin, opted out and sent out a statement that they will not play under the current management.

Constantine has called up eight foreign-based players to his squad, however, namely, Rahis Nabi, Easah Suliman, Yousuf Butt, Abdul Samad, Abdullah Iqbal, Mohammad Fazal Imran Kayani and Harun Hamid, whose goal against Cambodia last year took Pakistan past the first round of World Cup qualifying for the first time in their history.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2024