KARACHI: Pakistan striker Kaleemullah believes the national football team lacks quality midfielders, a shortcoming that prevents Pakistan from making a mark in the international arena.
Kaleemullah, along with 11 other KRL players, is a part of the national camp for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship that will begin from September 1.
Before the championship, the team will be touring Bangladesh for two friendly matches and would later play one in Afghanistan.
Analysing the national team’s performance, Kaleemullah said the team lacks good play-makers and falls short in the midfield during international matches. Kaleemullah displayed his prowess in the Pakistan Premier Football League’s 2012 season with 35 goals for KRL. However, he insisted that the recurring problem in the team is the absence of good midfielders.
“My role changes every now and then,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune. “I readily play in any position as required by the coach. But my personal goal is to improve on my skills as a midfielder because that is the need of the hour. We have a good midfielder in Adnan Ahmed but the team needs more of them so that they can create opportunities for the forwards to score.”
Kaleemullah added he would give his best during the friendly matches in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. He predicted that the team’s toughest match will be their opener against India at the SAFF Championship in Nepal. “We need to win the first match against India, it’s very important as that will set the tone for the rest of the tournament for Pakistan.”
The Chaman-based striker also sees the SAFF Championship as an opportunity to prepare for the AFC President’s Cup second-round matches that he will play with KRL.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.
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