Pakistan Football Team had a practice session at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium in the vicinity of Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad after rain played spoilsport and didn’t let the team practice in the football-allotted area.
Pakistan’s head coach Stephen Constantine informed the reporters about the team’s goal of qualifying for the 2027 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.
According to Constantine, qualifying for the next Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup isn’t on the books as the facilities in the country are inadequate. The first step towards achieving the World Cup participation goal is to develop a league where national players can play on a weekly basis, as currently, Pakistan-based players have no professional league to play in.
Constantine added that his first assignment in Nepal was way back in 1999 and he only had a pool of 35 players to select from. He said that the players did not have matching kits but they were match-fit to play because they had a league. He said that a football league in Pakistan is of the utmost importance.
While talking about Saudi Arabia, Constantine was critical of the fact that he isn’t looking at a particular player, rather he’s targeting the whole Saudi Arabia squad. He didn’t give importance to Salem al-Dawsari, the Asian player of the year. rather he said that his troops are preparing for the whole Saudi team.
He added that Saudi has one of the best coaches in the world, Roberto Mancini, former Euro winner with Italy and former Premier League champion with Manchester City, and it will be a tought task for the Men in Green to tackle such asn astute team.
A fan-favorite question of why center-back Abdullah Shah isn’t a part of the 40-man training camp, Constantine said that he won’t answer a question related to a player who he hasn’t selected.
Pakistan’s next match is against Saudi Arabia on 16th November 2023, at Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Stadium, Al-Hasa City.