KARACHI: Pakistan football coach Zavisa Milosavljevic said that the under-22 team’s tour to Thailand, which gets underway on April 17, should provide ample exposure to the players ahead of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-22 championship qualifiers.
Pakistan under-22 team left for Thailand for the tour that includes four matches on April 17, 19, 20 and 25. They will play a match against a local club before contesting two against the Thailand’s national team and concluding the tour with a game against the hosts’ under-22 team.
Milosavljevic said that Thailand’s competitive and vibrant football culture will help an inexperienced Pakistan line-up in gaining confidence and learning new techniques.
“The tour will provide the players a refreshing change,” Milosavljevic told The Express Tribune. “Thailand are a very good team and I’m glad that the players will get some much-needed exposure before the AFC qualifiers which is a huge event.
“But at the same time I want my team to win these matches. I’ve conducted a two-week camp in Lahore and I have confidence in my players that they’ll do well.”
The AFC under-22 championship qualifiers will take place in June and Pakistan has been placed in Group B along with Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan. The two top teams from the group will qualify for the 2013 championship.
“The reason why we chose to play with Thailand because they’re a better team than the ones in our group. I’m confident that we can beat Sri Lanka and Palestine but Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan are the tricky ones.”
While a 19-member squad left for Bangkok, four players are awaiting visas before they can join the rest of the team.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.
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