KARACHI, Sept 27: The Karachi United Football Club youth team has been invited by soccer clubs in Qatar to practice and play a series of matches there.
Taha Alizai, manager of the club, informed Dawn on Saturday that the team will be in Doha for one week, after the Eid holidays, where it will play matches against the youth teams of Al-Ahli and Al Sadd football clubs as well as train at the prestigious Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence.
Karachi United FC’s Youth Director Imran Ali said: “We feel it is important for our boys to get a perspective of the level of football prevalent outside Pakistan. This is a great learning opportunity but it also gives them a sense of how much hard work is required to take Pakistan football to the next level.”
The team this time will be led by 15-year-old Kareem Kerai. This is his first tour as captain. Adeel Rizki and Usman Iqbal (academy coaches) and Arshian Ali (tour manager) will be accompanying the squad as officials.
“Playing matches every alternate day, we will be following quite a hectic schedule but it is going to provide us with good exposure,” said the young skipper.
Meanwhile, the team coach Adeel Rizki said that: “The team has been working hard over the past few months, with multiple training sessions this month so the effort will pay off, hopefully.”
During the visit, the team will play four games besides taking part in various training sessions under the guidance of the Aspire coaches.
Karachi United has previously taken a youth team to Manchester United and sent its most-talented players to other professional academies such as the Charlton Athletic FC in the UK. Karachi United’s youth programme was started in 2001 and is regarded as one of the best in the country.
Founded in 1996, Karachi United FC currently hosts the KASB Premier League, consisting of the top Karachi football clubs, a Karachi United School Championship, the Energile Youth Football Championship as well as other tournaments and events in order to encourage the development of football within Pakistan and especially in Karachi.
Squad: Danny Gilani, Ali Haider, Amaan Saeed, Jibran Fawad, Moiz Salahuddin, Fahim Sachak, Taimur Mukaty, Yasir Siddiqi, Hassan Saad, Kareem Kerai (C), Hammad Askari, Atif Sachak, Mikaeel Naseer, Usman Saad, Hamza Jawaid, Muneeb Anjum, Shaezer Razi, Zaid Kerai, Maaz Shaffi, Changaiz Shafi, Benedict Plant.
Officials: Adeel Rizki, Usman Iqbal, Arshian Ali.