LAHORE - Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) president Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has said the two-match football series with India will surely help Pakistan team prepare well for upcoming Asian Games.

The team is all set to leave for India to play two international friendly match series with India on Aug 17, 20 at Bangalore.

“Playing with India is always beneficial for the growth of sports for both the nations. So in this regard, we hosted a bilateral series with India nine years ago in 2005 in which the Indian team visited us and played three matches but since then, our team could not visit India due to the regional circumstances,” said the PFF chief, while addressing the media.

Head coach Shamlan Mubarik, captain Kaleem Ullah, vice captain Faisal Iqbal, PFF secretary Lt Col (r) Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi, director development & competitions Wg Cdr (r) Pervaiz Saeed Mir, director admin Maj (r) Jahangir Khan, marketing consultant Sardar Naveed Haider Khan and manager media & marketing Shahid Khokhar were also present there.

The PFF chief said after 2009 terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team, Pakistan became ‘no go area’ for international sports. But it was the PFF which time and again raised the soft image of the country by hosting the international football events.

He said that during the last one year, the PFF had provided 10 international exposures to the national team for which a lot of efforts were put by the federation to meet the required financial resources. “This is for the preparation of the Asian Games to be held in Korea in September 2014. After playing two matches in Bangalore, the team will leave for Bahrain to play three matches there before returning home on August 31. Before the Asian Games, we even desire more international matches for the team.”

He reiterated the achievements of the PFF and its policies through which the players were now being picked up by professional clubs. “It reflects our endevours to transform Pakistan football into a professional setup. Lucrative contracts have been offered to Pakistan’s renowned players Kaleem Ullah, Adil and Saddam which shows bright future of Pakistan football,” he concluded.

Head coach Shamlan said that the team was fully prepared and in the best of physical condition. “Our main target is the Asian Games and this tour will surely help the boys prepare well for the mega event. The team has gradually improved a lot and the boys will give their 100 per cent against India.”

Captain Kaleem said: “Although Pakistan-India game is always a pressure game but the team is intact and we have a good combination of offensive and defensive players and win against India will boost our morale.”

PAKISTAN SQUAD: Saqib Hanif, Ahsanullah, Muzammil Hussain, M Ahmed, M Sohail, M Bilal, Naveed Ahmed, Faisal Iqbal, Ahsan Ullah, Mohsin Ali, Amjad Hussain, Saddam Hussain, Bilawalur Rehman, Mehmood Khan, M Riaz, Sher Ali, Mansoor Khan, M Adil, M Zeeshan, Kaleem Ullah (capt), Abdul Salam, M Salman, Sher M Baloch.

OFFICIALS: M Shamlan Mubarak head coach, Sardar Naveed Haider Khan marketing consultant, M Hassan and Tanveer Ahmed assistant coaches, Zahid Taj goalkeepers coach, Asghar Khan Anjum team manager, Kamran Mehdi physio and Farooq Jamal masseur.