Fulham's Zesh helps build Pakistan's profile

Fulham FC's Zesh Rehman returned home to England recently after his international debut for Pakistan, confident that the south Asian country has laid the foundations from which to build a successful footballing side. The South Asia Football Federation tournament was held in Karachi last December and although Pakistan failed to triumph by lifting the trophy, Rehman saw enough to tell him that the country has the potential to go on to greater things in future.

Speaking exclusively to The Khaleej Times, Birmingham-born Rehman said he had no way of knowing how the people of Pakistan would react to his arrival in the country of his parent’s birth but was left in no doubt he would be feted everywhere he went, when he stepped off the aircraft at Karachi airport ... For every Pakistan fixture, the stadiums were packed, with thirty thousand passionate fans, cheering Rehman’s every touch.

“Ten players in our team are under twenty four, and we will learn from this competition. It has been a great experience for me personally, and I think we are just lacking in finishing off in front of goal. I now want the team to improve,” Rehman said.

The Pakistan players met regularly and team prayers before games and training were something which Rehman says gave him a sense of spirituality and a whole new perspective on life. Such are the trappings of riches of an English Premier League player, Rehman is already a wealthy young man, that when the PFF handed Rehman his pay for the tournament he made a genuine gesture towards his team-mates.

"I just said, look its been an honour and a great experience for me to meet you all, and play in the same side as you." He then instructed his pay packet be divided between the rest of the team.