Pakistan men's football team skipper Otis Khan stressed the importance of having a professional football league in Pakistan in a pre-match address before facing Tajikistan.
Aligning with Head Coach Stephen Constantine's long-standing advocacy for a league as the keystone of football development, Khan asserted, "We need a professional league to improve the overall standard of the game in Pakistan. If there is no professional league, you cannot guarantee a football future in the country.”
Undeterred by underdog status, Khan drew inspiration from their previous triumph against Cambodia, expressing unwavering belief in upsetting Tajikistan.
Tajikistan's coach, Petar Šegrt, acknowledged the unpredictability of football, stating, "Every game starts at 0-0," despite the substantial ranking gap.
The clash at Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad, at 2 PM (Pakistan time), carries the weight of being a qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
Constantine, adopting an optimistic outlook, affirmed, "All the games in our group are tough. We will evolve after every game; that’s our commitment."