KARACHI, Oct 18: The Karachi United (KU) Football Club youth team which was on a tour of Qatar on the invitation of the Al-Ahli and Al Sadd soccer clubs to play a series of matches as well as practice and train at the prestigious Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence there, returned home this week after completion of a successful tour.

Having played three competitive matches, the squad returned after levelling the series by defeating Al-Ahli’s U-17 team 3-1 in the final game.

They had earlier been beaten by the same side 3-0 in the first match followed by their drawing the second game with the former U-14 AFC Champions Al Sadd by 2-2.

The last match that KU finally won, saw them going down 0-1 in half time. But they emerged as a different outfit in the second half when first striker Zaid Kerai’s solo effort saw him slotting the equalizer for his side followed by another to gain the lead. And the game’s final moments saw KU’s 15-year-old skipper Kareem Kerai swinging in a corner that was deflected in by an Al Ahli player to make the score 3-1 in KU’s favour.

“Qatar is ranked 78 in FIFA world rankings whereas Pakistan is 168. But the win against Al-Ahli shows that we are capable of producing talent in Pakistan. That combined with passion for the sport and the desire to win can carry Pakistan football to bigger heights,” said tour manager Arshian Ali.

Talking about the boys’ performances, team coach Adeel Rizki said: “There is a lot of work to be done and we are not going to let these performances cloud that. How the boys played in Qatar just helps to show that we’re on the right path.”

Having started their youth programme in 2001, Karachi United previously took a youth team to Manchester United along with sending some of its best players to other professional soccer academies such as the Charlton Athletic FC in the UK.

KU currently hosts the KASB Premier League, consisting of the top Karachi football clubs, a KU School Championship, the Energile Youth Football Championship as well as other tournaments and events in an effort to find new talent as well as raise the standard of football within the country.

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