Pakistan go down against Maldives, but coach satisfied

By Alam Zeb Safi
March 22, 2023

KARACHI: Pakistan’s senior men’s football team on Tuesday went 0-1 down to Maldives in their international friendly at Laamu, Gan, the southernmost island of Addu city.


Ibrahim Aisam hit the winner for Maldives via corner in the 20th minute.

Pakistan made some solid efforts but failed to bring the parity.

This is the second friendly in the last four months which Pakistan lost. Pakistan had also lost to Nepal 0-1 last November in Nepal, a game which had heralded the Green-shirts’ return to international circuit after a long gap of three years.

Despite the loss Pakistan head coach Shehzad Anwar was satisfied with the way his charges played in the show.

“I am very much satisfied with today’s performance from my boys,” Shehzad told ‘The News’ after the match.

“You know Maldives are more experienced team and their 90 percent players were from Maldives champion club Maziya which returned recently from Saudi Arabia after holding a camp there,” Shehzad said.

He said that Pakistan played spiritedly.

“Our boys played really well and their fitness was also fine. We got several chances but could not capitalise on the opportunities. I think Maldives just got one corner in the entire game and scored through that,” said Shehzad, a pro license coach.

Denmark-based striker Abdul Samad Shehzad and London-based 19-year-old midfielder Harun Hamid made their debut in the game. Shehzad said both played brilliantly.

“They were excellent and I think they can play for Pakistan for long,” Shehzad said.

Meanwhile, PFF Normalisation Committee chairman Haroon Malik said that they are building the brigade for the World Cup Qualifiers.

“We are building the side for the World Cup Qualifiers to be held in October. In this match we used a couple of new players and in June FIFA window we will play against Saudi Arabia and from there we will go straight to the SAFF Cup,” Haroon said.

“Although we are going to compete in the SAFF Cup our long-term plan is to build a strong side for the World Cup Qualifiers and we want to see Pakistan qualify for the second round,” Haroon said.

“Although this will be looked after later on by the next elected PFF we want to provide them a strong platform,” Haroon said.

He said that some local events in near future can also gift them a few more good players.

“There are National Games in May and then we will conduct the knock-out stage of the PFF Challenge Cup and I hope we can get a few more good boys from there,” Haroon said.