ISLAMABAD - Gold medal winning Pakistan U-13 soccer team captain Moiz Akhtar has attributed victory to team’s effort, hard work of coach and manager Agha Amjedullah's keen involvement.

In an interview with The Nation, Moin, 12, said: “I am captain of the team for the last two years and we had had golden opportunity of winning the gold medal last year, but unfortunately, I got badly injured during the championship in Korea, which deprived us of lifting the title. This year, we trained hard and well under able coaching of Asad, who worked really hard with the boys and treated us like his own kids.”

Moiz said he had been playing soccer for the last six years and he was sure, this year they would deliver for the country and bring medal for it. “The gold medal we won in the Korea was a gift of Independence Day for the nation. We worked really hard to clinch it as we had tough teams to take on during the mega event, but able guidance and coaching as well as our dedication and determination to win the title helped us achieve our goal.”

“After playing 0-0 draw against Korean academy team in the first encounter, our confidence was at sky high and after defeating China 6-0 and then Korean Eungu 4-0, we had started eyeing title victory. We entered the last group match against Mongolia with clear aim of winning title and I must give credit to both strikers Hassan Shreen and Atif Khan who helped the team accomplish its task,” he added.

To a query regarding staying with same coach or they want other high-profile coach, Moiz replied: “No, Asad is a very fine coach. I along with Haider Abbas have trained with goalkeeping coach Ghous from Sahiwal and another coach from Fata, while other players are training with Asad. I think they all did a fantastic job, but now it is my request to Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to arrange a camp for the junior players in Europe, Germany, France or England for at least one month, as it will help us a great deal in becoming better footballers and winning medals at international level. If Europe is too costly to bear expenses, then at least a camp at China or Korea can serve the purpose. We badly need international exposure to stand realistic chance of winning laurels at the top.”

To another query regarding his favorite footballer, Moiz replied: “I am a die-hard fan of Portuguese super star Cristiano Ronaldo. I love him as a complete player while German World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Peter Neuer is my favorite goalie and I wanted to be a great goalie like him.”

“My biggest dream is to lead Pakistan in world cup and play leading role in helping my beloved country. It is very pinching that our national football team never played in any major event. I will first concentrate on completing my studies along with paying attention towards playing soccer. I am currently studying in Beaconhouse School in seventh standard. They are very cooperative and allow us to play soccer, but I strongly recommend that schools and colleges must focus on maintaining proper football teams, as it will help national team in getting fresh talent,” Moiz concluded.