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Pak football team to play practice match in Bahrain today

By Our Correspondent
June 01, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan football team will play a practice match against a club at the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) Stadium in Manama on Saturday (today).

The team leaves for Cambodia on Monday to take on the Southeast Asian nation in the first leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers first round. “Yes, we will play against Buri Sports Club tomorrow. As professional clubs here have their off-season, we requested this club and it will field some local and professional players against us. It will help our boys get some practice,” a Pakistan team source told ‘The News’.

The other day Pakistan went 1-2 down in their practice outing against Bahrain’s Under-23 outfit at the National Stadium Bahrain. According to team sources, former Fulham defender Zeeshan Rehman joined the team on Friday night.

Zesh was engaged with his Hong Kong club Southern in the Hong Kong FA Cup.

It was learnt that Denmark’s first division club Lyngby Boldklub’s winger Adnan Mohammad and striker Mohammad Ali would join the team in Cambodia. The duo would fly out for Cambodia immediately after playing their club matches on June 3, the sources said.

After playing matches in Denmark for their respective clubs, Hasan Bashir, gloveman Yousuf Butt and defender Yaqoob Butt have re-joined the team in Bahrain. The sources said that Pakistan have been using different pitches in Bahrain, a couple of them artificial and two natural. In Cambodia Pakistan will play on artificial grass. But in Doha the pitch which will be used has natural grass.

The first leg between the two lowest-ranked nations will be held on June 6 at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh. The second leg will be held at Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha, on June 11. The sources said that a 20-member team was likely to be finalised for the qualifiers.

The unofficial list includes Zeeshan Rehman, Adnan Mohammad, Mohammad Ali, Hasan Bashir, Yousuf Butt, Yaqoob Butt, Rahis Nabi, Samir Nabi, Naveed, Tabish Hussein, Shabban Hussein, Abdullah Ghazi, Mohammad Riaz, Ali Khan Niazi, Ahsanullah, Ahmed Faheeem, Umar Hayat, Ali Uzair, Muzammil Hussain and Mehmood Khan.

The list carries 12 overseas and eight home-grown players. The camp in Bahrain is being supervised by Brazilian coach Joe Antonio Nogueira. FIFA-recognised Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has held this camp.

Meanwhile, the camp which has been held by Ashfaq Hussain Shah-led PFF at the Jinnah Stadium Islamabad is scheduled to be closed on Saturday (today). “Tomorrow night we are going to close the camp,” a camp official told ‘The News’.

“We played four matches during the camp. After Eid-ul-Fitr, we will try to send the team abroad for some matches,” the team official said.

The official said that there were some footballing nations who were not yet affiliated with FIFA, so the team could play against them. “If it did not happen then we would play against foreign clubs,” the official said. He reiterated that Ashfaq-led body would take action against those players and officials who are part of the Bahrain camp.