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KARACHI: In a bid to remain fit before the start of the United Soccer League (USL) season in March, Pakistan international striker Kaleemullah has joined Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) side K-Electric on a short-term contract.

“I play for K-Electric till March after which I’ll rejoin Tulsa Roughnecks for the USL season,” Kaleem told Dawn on Thursday.

The 24-year-old added he would feature for K-Electric in an upcoming local tournament.

“I’ve heard that the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) will be organising a tournament in Karachi,” he informed.

Over the years, the NBP has sponsored the National Challenge Cup, held by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) but football has come to a standstill in the country since June last year after the country’s football governing body split into two factions following a disputed election.

A few tournaments have since been held but the PPFL hasn’t been held since K-Electric clinched their domestic league title in January last year.

While local footballers have suffered, Kaleem has been getting regular action in the United States.

He moved stateside when he joined the Roughnecks’ rivals in the third-tier USL, Sacramento Republic from Kyrgyz giants FC Dordoi in June last year.

He moved to the Roughnecks before the start of last season and expects to link up with them at the start of the new season.

“I have a two-year contract with the Roughnecks and I intend to honour it,” Kaleem added.

Kaleem shot to fame with his incredible goal-scoring feats in five seasons with the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), which saw him bag four PPFL titles while also inspiring the club to the final of the AFC President’s Cup in 2013.

His performances saw him being courted by Dordoi and he joined the Bishkek side in 2014.

Goals have dried up for Kaleem since moving to the US - with just one in one-and-half seasons in the USL - but he hopes the short stint with K-Electric helps him recover his scoring touch.

“I thought it was better to play for K-Electric than resting for three months,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2016