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June 4, 2018

Footballers rest after nine-day strenuous training

 
June 4, 2018

KARACHI: National footballers on Sunday took rest after hectic nine-day training for the 18th Asian Games and SAFF Cup to be held later this summer.

During the nine days, the coaching staff focussed on raising the fitness level of the boys. Brazilian trainer Jose Portella passed the players through tough drills at Lahore. It is rare for Pakistani players to train with a qualified trainer. Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira is busy reading the players, watching their skills at different positions.

In the coming days the focus will be shifted from fitness to technical and tactical aspects.Nogueira is confident he will raise a good side ahead of the Asiad. “We are doing a good job and hopefully a fine side will be prepared,” Nogueira told ‘The News’.

“We focussed mostly on fitness issues during the last few days and did some work on technical and tactical sides,” he said. The coach plans to cut the number of players within a week. “There are so many players in the camp; very soon we will bring down the strength. We have time and I hope we will form a fighting side,” Sao Paulo-born 52-year-old coach said.

When asked whether players were able to absorb Portella’s physical training pressure, Nogueira said: “Some of them can, but those who are new feel problem.”

In the first phase, home-based players are training. Foreign-based players will join the camp in the second phase, which will begin after Eid-ul-Fitr. Danish Superliga midfielder Adnan Mohammad, Denmark-based goalie Yousuf Butt, Pakistan’s captain Hassan Bashir and former Pakistan captain Kaleemullah will join the camp being held at the Model Town Ground in Lahore.

England-born former Pakistan captain Zeeshan Rehman, who plays for Hong Kong’s club Southern, also intends to be part of Pakistan in SAFF Cup. Pakistan will return to international circuit after three years.

A legal conflict between Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and its rival group wasted last three years. The Asian Games will be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2. SAFF Cup will be held in Bangladesh from September 4-15.In the Asian Games, an under-23 team, along with three seniors, can be fielded.