Pakistan team take air force flight to Tajikistan for FIFA qualifier today [Arab News]

Pakistan team take air force flight to Tajikistan for FIFA qualifier today [Arab News]

by Muhammad Ibrahim

ISLAMABAD: After not being able to leave on time due to flight issues, the Pakistan national football team has departed for Tajikistan via an air force flight to play their final round two away fixture of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers today, Tuesday, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) said. 

The team’s earlier scheduled flight for Tajikistan was halted “due to technical issues,” the federation had said on Monday.

“The national team departed from Noor Khan Air Base in a special aircraft of Pakistan Air Force,” PFF said in a statement, adding that the flight schedule of the national team had been affected twice.
The game against Tajikistan is scheduled for 8pm Pakistan time. 

The South Asian team lost to the Saudi football team 4-0 in the first leg of the qualifying matches when they faced off in Al Ahsa. On June 6, Saudi Arabia beat Pakistan 3-0 at the Jinnah Football Stadium in Islamabad with Firas Tariq Nasser Al-Buraikan dealing Pakistan an early blow in the 26th minute followed by another one 15 minutes later, giving the visitors a 2-0 edge over the hosts.

Later, Pakistan suffered another setback in round one of the qualifiers when they lost 6-1 to Tajikistan in Islamabad days after losing to Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan are bottom-placed in Group G of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and already out of the race to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifying matches after losing four matches on the trot. 

Apart from Saudi Arabia, the other two teams with Pakistan in Group G are Jordan and Tajikistan. In the second round of the qualifiers, a total of 36 football squads have been split into nine groups with four teams each. The winners and runners-up from each group would go through to the third round.

Pakistan squad:
Goalkeepers: Yousuf Butt, Saqib Hanif and Hassan Ali
Defenders: Abdullah Iqbal, Mohammad Fazal, Haseeb Khan, Rao Omer Hayat, Mamoon Moosa, Mohammad Saddam, Waqar Ihtisham, Moin Ahmed and Abdul Rehman
Midfielders: Rahis Nabi, Otis Khan, Ali Uzair, Umair Ali, Toqeer ul Hassan, Alamgir Ghazi and Ali Zafar
Forwards: Imran Kayani, McKeal Abdulah, Fareedulah, Adeel Younas and Shayak Dost

Published in Arab News, 11 June 2024

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