Kamran Khan
Kamran shows his anger during the game against Nepal in February 2013.
Picture Courtesy: GoalNepal

Name: Kamran Khan

Club: KRL FC

Position: Centre-Back (Right-Footed)

The only player representing Islamabad in the Pakistan senior setup, Kamran or ‘Kami’ as he is more affectionately known as, has become one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Alongside Samar Ishaq, Kamran is a sure-stop starter and commands the defence with his tenacious tackling and ability to pass well.

Starting humbly, the KRL star began his career with Islamabad’s A-League before being picked up by Khan Research Laboratories. His stint with the National team began during the tour of Bahrain under Salman Sharida in 2006, although it was in 2008 during the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers that he finally fielded for the Shaheens.

Ever since then, Kamran has slowly but surely cemented his place in the starting line-up, despite being completely absent during George Kottan’s reign in 2009/10. With Tariq Lutfi handling the senior team after that, the 27-year-old was picked again and hasn’t skipped a beat since.

And in 2011, Kamran was essential during the SAFF Cup as Zavisa Milosavljević took charge in November. And the Serbian has made no secret of his preferences, starting the stopper during the 2012 friendly against Singapore and later against Nepal and Maldives in 2013.

However, despite his best efforts, the central defender was unable to prevent narrow defeats against Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that lead to Pakistan crashing out of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in March 2013, although they beat Macau 2-0 in the dead-rubber tie.

Since then Kamran has steadied himself and earned great accolades during KRL’s emphatic run in the AFC President’s Cup early stages, but his real test will be in Kathmandu, where he faces the unsavoury task of keeping Sunil Chhetri at bay.