LAHORE Head coach of national football U23 team Akhtar Mohiuddin has said Pakistan overseas players have boosted his teams chances in the Asian Games scheduled to be held in China.
Overseas players Iltaf Ahmed, Zeeshan Rehman, Adnan Ahmed, Amjad Iqbal played brilliantly when we played draw against Asian champions Iraq in the 19th World Cup qualifier three years ago, said Akhtar.
The camp is in progress at Lahores Punjab Stadium and Model Town Football Academy Ground.
Chaman-born Akhtar said: Overseas football players of Pakistan origin are showing willingness to play for their country and this will help promote the game besides motivating the youth to take up soccer as a sport. Pakistan soccer has become a source of interest for foreign players and for this very reason European-born Usman Gondal, Zeshan Rehman represented national team in 2005, followed by Kashif Siddiqi who played for Pakistan Olympic team in 2007.
Fraaz Ahmed, Zesh Rehman, Adnan Farooq Ahmed, Amjad Iqbal, Iltaf Ahmed, Adam Luke Karim, Fouzal Azeem Bashir, Assad Ahmad, Suffean Mahmood were inducted in camp for two-legged World Cup Qualifiers against Iraq.
The AFC U19 Championship at Tehran saw youngsters from Britain - Irfan Khan, Usman Hussain, Umar Farooq Javed, Khurram Shahzad and Haroon Ishaq.
Next in line was Atif Bashir, now playing Welsh league for Barry Town. Born to a British Pakistani father and a Turkish German mother, Atif could have theoretically played for Germany, Turkey, either of the British home nations, as well as Pakistan to whom he eventually chose. He made debut for Pakistan in the 2008 SAFF Championship against the host Maldives, followed by matches against India and Nepal, said Akhtar
Austria-born coach George Kottan was instrumental in giving Pakistani jerseys to Shabir Khan (Worcester City FC) and Reis Ashraf (Leamington FC) in 2009 when they wore Pakistan colour in SAFF Championship 2009 alongwith other European-based players Amjad Iqbal, Atif Bashir and Adnan Ahmed. Asian Games football probable list include new comers like Danish brothers Yousuf Butt, Yaqoob Butt plus Shani Qayum, Aneel Azeem. and Bilal Butt
Akhtar, part of the coaches panel when Pakistan defeated India in the inaugural Indo-Pak series 2005.
Akhtar appreciated the football promotion work under the leadership of Faisal Saleh Hayat and said that the time was near when Pakistan will be among top playing nations of Asia.