KARACHI: Team Pakistan — brought to global limelight with their third-placed finish at the 2014 Street Child World Cup — opened their campaign at the Norway Cup in style as they thrashed Tertnes Fotball Herrer 10-0 in Oslo yesterday.
This is the third time Pakistan are participating at the tournament, known as the biggest youth football event in the world with 2,199 teams this year.
Last year, Pakistan reached the semi-finals but will be looking to go even further this time around. And they sent out an ominous message with the thrashing, which included a hat-trick from Muhammad Dilshad, a teenager who belongs to Karachi’s Mauripur area. Striker Obaid Ahmed and Pakistan’s star sprinter at the Rio Street Child Games Muhammad Naeem grabbed a brace each.
“This time we need to win the cup,” captain Razik Mushtaq told The Express Tribune. “We need to play as a unit and should win it as we are here for the third time. I want to lift that trophy.”
Pakistan are in Group B with four other clubs and need to win two more matches to qualify for the knockouts.
This is the last time that Raziq and the 2014 Street Child World Cup squad members will be playing in the tournament’s U16 event.
Team manager Itfan Maqbool revealed spectators were surprised by his side’s performance and praised them for their impressive start.
“The Norwegian players are in better shape in terms of their height and health, but our talent shone through,” said Maqbool. “We are happy that our players performed so well despite coming from such humble backgrounds and without having access to the kind of facilities that their European counterparts have.”