Pakistan’s national football team begins its campaign at the Peace Cup 2013 against Chinese Taipei today in Bacolod, with KRL coach Tariq Lutfi predicting a strong performance by the side under Zesh Rehman’s captaincy.
Lutfi, who was also the national coach till 2011, feels the players have a considerable chance of winning their opening match against Chinese Taipei under Rehman’s leadership qualities.
“Zesh deserves to be the captain and his performance should enhance now,” Lutfi told The Express Tribune. “Zesh expressed his interest to lead Pakistan in international matches a couple of years ago and now the Pakistan Football Federation has finally given him a chance. I think the team will also thrive under him, and it’s time for him to show his commitment towards Pakistan.
“Zesh can be a role model for Pakistan’s players but he needs to prove his calibre first.”
Lutfi was the coach when KRL made it into the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup final this year, becoming the first Pakistani club to achieve the feat.
According to Lutfi, players like Kaleemullah, Mehmood Khan and Muhammad Adil, who are also a part of KRL, should be able to make an impact in Philippines.
“My players have the experience of playing in Philippines as well, we played against their local club Global FC in the President’s Cup first round earlier this year and defeated them. KRL’s performance has given a good impression of Pakistan football abroad, especially in Philippines.”
The coach stated that winning the Peace Cup will open the doors for Pakistan football in South East Asia and countries like Malaysia may invite the team to play friendlies with them.
The tournament is a tri-nation event that will feature Philippines besides Pakistan and Chinese Taipei.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2013.
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