Pakistan can qualify for the FIFA World Cup if the team is selected on merit, says former captain Essa Khan. Essa Khan, who scored 11 goals in 36 appearances for Pakistan, said that
“Pakistani is capable to qualify for the mega event” if the principles of merit are upheld during the selection process.
“The World Cup will be increased to 48 teams from 2026 which gives Pakistan a good opportunity to qualify for the event. If Pakistan could not qualify for 2026 World Cup, I’m hopeful that they would make it in 2030 if merit is promoted and all the stakeholders are on the same page,” he said.
Later Pakistan was defeated by Nepal by 1-0. Essa was also unimpressed with the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee’s decision to play a friendly against Nepal, which the Shaheens lost.
“Playing a friendly match against Nepal was a waste of money,” he said. “Including diaspora players in the squad also damaged the confidence of local players.”
The foreign players which had joined Pakistan’s squad included Hassan Bashir, Adnan Yaqoob, Abdullah Iqbal and Yousuf Butt. All four players currently ply their trade in Denmark’s club football.