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Saudi football team arrives in Pakistan for the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match today

ISLAMABAD: The Saudi Arabian football team has arrived in Pakistan for the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier, scheduled to take place on June 6 at Jinnah Stadium.

Traveling on a chartered flight from Riyadh to Islamabad, the team was accompanied by their renowned manager Roberto Mancini and assistant coach Yaya Toure.

Upon arrival at Islamabad International Airport, the squad was welcomed by Pakistani officials and the KSA ambassador, Nawaf Bin-Said Al-Malki.

Saudi Arabia had to delay their trip to Pakistan due to the poor condition of Jinnah Stadium and the lack of proper training fields. Initially planned to leave Islamabad two days before the match, their departure was postponed to one day before the game.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has announced their squad for the match. The team will feature 18-year-old striker Mckeal Abdullah for the highly anticipated clash. Abdullah plays for Mansfield Town, a team in EFL League Two, the fourth level of the English football league system.

However, the club will compete in EFL League One in the 2024–25 season after securing promotion.

Despite being called up for the camp, Blackburn Rovers U21 goalkeeper Adam Khan has been excluded from the final squad. Star winger Otis Khan and left-back Mohammad Fazal have returned to the Pakistan team, but captain and star defender Easah Suliman will not be available as he is on Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

Pakistan currently sits at the bottom of Group G, having lost all four matches they have played so far. Their journey began with a 4-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia in Al-Ahsa in November, followed by a 6-1 loss to Tajikistan in Islamabad the same month. Jordan then defeated Pakistan 3-0 in Islamabad during Ramadan, with the Shaheens also losing the reverse fixture 7-0 at the Amman International Stadium.

After facing Saudi Arabia, Pakistan will play their final group match against Tajikistan in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers.

Squad:

  • Goalkeepers: Yousuf Butt (D), Saqib Hanif, Hassan Ali
  • Defenders: Abdullah Iqbal (D), Mohammad Fazal (D), Haseeb Khan, Rao Omer Hayat, Mamoon Moosa, Mohammad Saddam, Waqar Ihtisham, Moin Ahmed, Abdul Rehman
  • Midfielders: Rahis Nabi (D), Otis Khan (D), Ali Uzair, Umair Ali, Toqeer ul Hassan, Alamgir Ghazi, Ali Zafar
  • Forwards: Imran Kayani (D), McKeal Abdullah, Fareedulah, Adeel Younas, Shayak Dost

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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