LAHORE: Pakistan football team coach Tariq Lutfi has confirmed that the national team will not be taking the series of friendly matches against India lightly.
Pakistan will clash against the arch-rivals in the opening match on September 3 at the Derby Football Club while the second tie is scheduled for Glasgow on September 9. The national team is currently preparing under floodlights for the series at a training camp at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.
Lutfi insisted that despite the encounters being friendly ones, the players are taking them very seriously.
“For us, these are not just friendly matches,” Lutfi told The Express Tribune. “Since India are our arch-rivals, we are taking them very seriously. Our approach will be completely professional and we won’t give India any leeway.”
Talking about the composition of the team, Lutfi said that the young squad under him will get much-needed exposure by competing against the Indians.
“We are currently in a development phase as our team consists of under-23 players. We’ll try to come up with the best possible results with this young side, and I hope that the international exposure that they’ll get will hold them in good stead.”
The series between the south Asian neighbours has generated a huge amount of interest among the expatriate fans of both countries, with Lutfi confirming that the team members were ‘also eagerly anticipating the tour and are looking to beat India’.
Pakistan will be departing for London later this month but are yet to name a captain for the team. However, the coach asserted that the team management is keenly observing all the members and will decide on a suitable player to lead the side who has the required leadership qualities and also has a secure place in the team.
“We will name the captain at the end of the training camp. In the intervening period we’ll monitor each and every player and name a captain accordingly.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.