The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has named coach Tariq Lutfi as the team manager for the one-off friendly against India in England on September 3.
The squad, comprising 22 players, will leave on August 29 while the training camp will commence from August 19 at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore. The squad will also be accompanied by two assistant coaches, one goal-keeping coach and a director of marketing together with Lutfi.
Lutfi, meanwhile, said that international exposure was the most important ingredient for the team, stressing on the need for tours and international exposure time and time again and that Pakistan players had the potential but needed exposure to improve.
“Pakistan footballers have great potential,” said Lutfi. “This was shown by our team that defeated a stronger Indian side in the ongoing Saff under-16 Championship. If our players get the same level of exposure, then we can have a better senior side as well.”
Pakistan defeated India 1-0 and Maldives 6-0 to qualify for the Saff under-16 Championship semi-finals in Nepal and Lutfi said that the young brigade has shown signs of a better future.
“Our under-13 and under-16 teams have shown that they are capable of beating their Asian counterparts. But there’s an apparent difference in international exposure when our junior players make their way to the senior team.”
The manager added that India will have an edge over Pakistan when they meet for their series in England.
“We believe we can beat India but we can’t forget that India is a better team.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.