Pakistan men’s football team captain Otis Khan gave a loud and clear statement in yesterday’s pre-match press conference before the match against Tajikistan. “We need a professional league to improve the overall standard of the game in Pakistan. If there is no professional league, you cannot guarantee a football future in the country.”
He has rallied behind his head coach Stephen Constantine, who has been saying since the start of his appointment that a league is the most integral part of a football setup, and it plays a crucial part in the growth of a sport.
Otis further added, “No one gave us a chance against Cambodia, yet we won. Here again, we start as underdogs, yet I believe we can upset Tajikistan.”
On the opposite side, Tajikistan’s head coach Petar Šegrt said, “Don’t forget one very important thing, every game starts at 0-0. Both of the teams will try to win this game tomorrow.” Although there is a massive difference in ranking between Pakistan and Tajikistan, the Tajik coach didn’t take Pakistan lightly.
Lastly, Constantine added, “All the games in our group are tough. We will see where we are at the end but I can promise you that we will improve after every game and that’s the best that we can do.”
Pakistan face Tajikistan today at Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad at 2 PM (Pakistan time). The match is a qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.