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April 29, 2015

KRL thump PIA to reclaim National Challenge Cup

Sports

April 29, 2015

KARACHI: Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) reclaimed Football Challenge Cup title with a crushing 3-0 victory over Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the final at Railways Stadium Lahore on Tuesday.
It was a stunning recovery for a team that finished sixth in the last Premier League.
This was the fifth title won by the country’s most successful team. They also won this tournament in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. And this is the third time that the Rawalpindi-based side has won this event under the coaching of Sajjad Mehmood, who previously guided his side to title victories in 2009 and 2010.
Izharullah turned out to be the hero for the conquerors with a double which he scored in 50th and 54th minutes.
Dawood Khan had provided lead to KRL in the third minute.
Sajjad said proper planning and hard work from players finally paid off. “We played the whole tournament with a solid plan. The boys worked hard throughout which paid dividends,” Sajjad, who guided Pakistan to their maiden title win in the inaugural Under-16 SAFF Championship in Nepal in 2011, said.
“After a low finish in the Premier League last season the players’ morale had been down. I motivated them and instilled confidence in them. And I am extremely happy with the result today,” Sajjad added.
He said his side outclassed PIA.
“PIA are a god side. We were expecting tough resistance from them today, but they seemed totally off-colour and failed to recover when we scored a goal so early,” Sajjad said.
The coach said the victory would help his players enter the Premier League with a big heart. “It will help the team in the league. Young striker Umair Khan from Bannu is a good addition in the side ahead of the Premier League. He is a good player,” Sajjad said.
After three of their star players, Kaleemullah, Mohammad Adil and Saddam Hussain, left KRL to join Kyrgyzstan’s top club Dordoi FC before the start of the last Premier League, the four-time

league champions had to face trouble last season and failed to defend the title.
But they received a huge boost ahead of the Challenge Cup when Saddam Hussain joined them after his contract with Dordoi ended.
PIA coach Shamim Khan was satisfied with his team’s performance despite the defeat. “I knew what my team would do in the final. Three of our players, Nasrullah, Mohammad Haji and Waseemullah, played after getting injections because of their serious injuries,” Shamim said.
“I can say that the players played better than we had expected,” he added.
He warned PIA’s management of worse results if young blood was not injected in the side. “Although we reached the final, I would like to advise PIA management to recruit young players. If they did not do that the team might further go down,” Shamim, who will go on pre-retirement leave on May 8 and will formally retire in December, said.
He worked for several years with former PIA coach Tariq Lutfi. After Lutfi’s retirement three years ago, Shamim took over the team as the head coach and despite several problems he was able to pull off encouraging results both in the Premier League and the Challenge Cup.
“In 2009 we played final of the Challenge Cup because we had young players in the side. And today we played final again with mostly colts in the side,” the coach said.
The winners were handed over a glittering trophy, gold medals and Rs250,000. The runners-up got a trophy, silver medals and Rs150,000.
The bronze medallists Army got richer by Rs75,000.
The fair-play trophy and Rs20,000 went to four-time Premier League champions WAPDA.
Besides, Rs15,000 each was given to Habib-ur-Rehman (best player, PIA), Ihsanullah (best goalie, SSGC), Mohammad Mujahid (leading scorer, four goals, PAF,), Shahid Hussain (best referee). Adnan Anjum, adjudged the best assistant referee, got Rs10,000.

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