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Tuesday June 18, 2024

England-born McKeal, Adam join national team’s camp

By Alam Zeb Safi
May 21, 2024
England-born footballer McKeal Abdullah seen in this undated photo.—The Current/file
England-born footballer McKeal Abdullah seen in this undated photo.—The Current/file  

LAHORE: Overseas footballers have been dominating Pakistan football team for the last couple of years due to no Premier League in the country which was a regular feature from 2004 to 2014 before the internal unrest and installation of the PFF Normalisation Committee put a full stop to the top competition which forced coaches to pick from offshore pool.

And on Monday two new England-born footballers McKeal (Mikael) Abdullah and Adam Khan joined the national team’s camp which is in operation these days in Islamabad for the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Group G remaining two matches against Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan in June.

A PFF NC source confirmed to this correspondent that the duo on Monday reported for the camp being handled by English coach Stephen Constantine.

Nottingham-born Abdullah is a striker who plays for Mansfield Town FC. English football club Blackburn Rovers Under-18 goalkeeper Adam Khan, 18, has also received maiden Pakistan call-up. Both these players were also in the plans of former Pakistan head coach Shehzad Anwar not only for the senior but also for the junior sides. He had recommended the duo for both AFC Under-19 and Under-23 events but they could not make it to these events due to documents issue.

According to sources both are young and gutsy players and could turn out to be Pakistan’s stars in future. Meanwhile, the PFF NC source said that Denmark-born left-back Mohammad Fazal, who plays for Swedish club Nordic United FC, has also recovered from injury and will be available for the two matches.

Skipper Easah Suliman, who plays in Azerbaijan league, will not be available for the coming matches as he is going to perform Hajj. Pakistan will host Saudi Arabia in Islamabad on June 6 before they face Tajikistan in their away leg on June 11.

Pakistan have so far lost all their four matches with heavy margins in the group which also carries Jordan. The list of home-grown probables which the PFF NC released on Monday does not contain the name of the country’s premier gloveman Saqib Hanif.

According to camp sources Saqib is in the camp but his name is not in the official list. A source close to Saqib told this correspondent that his name was not in the list which was prepared by the coach initially and also is missing in the official list released on Monday but he is training in the camp on his own. It is pertinent to mention here that Saqib is the only Pakistan-grown player who plays league in Maldives consistently and has not been much affected by the football situation in Pakistan.

Camp home-grown probables: Goalkeepers: Hassan Ali and Tanveer; Defenders: Haseeb Khan, Mamoon Moosa Khan, Huzaifa, Waqar Ihtisham, Abdul Rehman, Umar Hayat, Muhammad Adeel, Muhammad Saddam and Zain ul Abideen; Midfielders: Yasir Arafat, Alamgir Ghazi, Ali Uzair, Rajab Ali, Moin Ali, Junaid Ahmed and Fahim; Forwards: Adeel Younas, Shayak Dost, Ali Zafar and Fareedullah.