Pakistan announce squad for SAFF Suzuki Cup
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The big news is that star man Kaleemullah Khan is not part of the squad.
The Pakistan Football Federation have announced their squad for the upcoming SAFF Championship, which is set to kick-off on Tuesday. The big news is that star man Kaleemullah Khan is not part of the squad due to some tensions between him the Football Federation. Khan apparently questioned the PFF’s stance heading into the tournament, wanting some technical improvements before the tournament kicked-off.
It is also believed that he isn’t fond of working with Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira and refused to learn under him because of how incompetent he thought the coach is. While Pakistan will miss Khan’s creativity in front of goal, they have retained much of the squad which participated in the Asian Games recently.
Former Fulham defender Zesh Rehman is arguably the most experienced player among the unit, while the likes of Hassan Bashir, Yousuf Butt, and Mohammed Ali have all been picked for the tournament.
The squad also sees many domestic stars in the likes of Faisal Iqbal, Saadullah, and Muhammed Adil all return to the national team and has some talented young players in it as well. Captain Saddam Hussain will look to lead from the front and use his experience to inspire his team to perform well and silence their doubters. T
his relatively young squad shows the amount of ambition put in by Nogueira into the youngsters and the youthful exuberance of the players could mean that Pakistan play a more attractive brand of football in the SAFF Cup.
Pakistan have been put in a relatively tricky group against hosts Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and are definitely the dark-horses of the section. Whilst everyone might be thinking them as the “whipping boys” of the group because of their inexperience and rank, Pakistan can prove them wrong by brandishing their newfound unpredictable style of football and attack from the front, rather than defending to barely earn a point.
Pakistan's 20-man squad for the SAFF Cup.
Pakistan will be involved in the opening game of the SAFF Cup, when they face Nepal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on Tuesday. They will then go onto face Bangladesh two days later, before rounding off their group stage with a match against Bhutan on 8th September.
Things don’t look so good for Pakistan, with their main attacking star being kept out of the team, but the SAFF Cup is the perfect stage for them to prove their ability and improvement under coach Nogueira.
Published: Sat Sep 01, 2018 02:15 PM IST