National football team’s head coach Darren Stewart said team captain Ali Ashfaq would not be able to play in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match against Oman on Tuesday night.
Ashfaq was injured during training, in preparation for the match against Oman, which will be played at the National Stadium.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday prior to the match, coach Stewart said Ashfaq had sustained injuries in his thigh muscles and after necessary tests, the doctor advised him to rest for six weeks. The coach further said that Ashfaq, keen to participate in the match, requested that he play despite the doctor’s advice. However his future in this career is more important, hence the decision to exclude him from the team, coach said.
Coach Steward further said that it is concerning to not have Ashfaq on the team during such an important match, but that it should be understood that Ashfaq would not always be in the national team. The national team was subject to a lot of criticism after their defeat at Oman, thus it is crucial that the team succeeds at this match, he said.
While the captain of the team has to sit this match out, another prominent player Asadhullah Abdullah is also on injury. Therefore, mostly young players will main the front.