Monday, 5 December 2011

So proud of our 'Alfie'

Barry Town's Atif Bashir is currently part of the Pakistan team that is taking part in the South Asian Football Federation Championship, which is this being staged by India.  Eight teams play in two groups of four.  The top two of each group progress to a semi-final, before the winners of those meet in the Final. 

Pakistan are in Group B along with tournament favourites Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal.  Atif has featured in both games so far - against Bangladesh and the Maldives.  Both games have ended 0-0 in the cavernous 60,000 seater Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.  Unfortunately for the tournament and the promoters, around 58,000 of those seats have been unused in the groups stages thus far.  Should there be an India vs Pakistan final, however expect some more bums on seats for that one.

Atif has been picking up good plaudits for his solid efforts for Pakistan in the two games so far, and despite being subbed off on the hour in the second game, looks certain to again be in the starting line-up for the crucial tie with Group B leaders, Nepal.  Nepal's two games have yieleded 4 points for them, so a Pakistan win would guarantee a Semi Final spot.  Pakistan's previous best effort was 3rd place. 

Nepal are managed by ex-Spurs hero Graham Roberts, a man who had spent time last year working for the Pakistan side, so Roberts will be no stranger to the Barry Town midfielder.  Nepal are the favourites to beat Pakistan, but Pakistan have a rare Semi Final place in the offing should they pull out a remarkable victory against Nepal tomorrow. Their two back-to-back draws are already something akin to progress - Pakistan not being unbeaten in two games for some time.

Anyway, whatever happens, Barry Town supporters are already WELL pleased with their 'Alfie' (as pronounced by the guy on the tannoy at Carmarthen Town), and his exploits for the Dragons as well as the Greenshirts.

So focused on Barry Town is Atif that he apparently offered to play the first half of the recent Welsh League match against Cwmaman Institute before jetting off to join the rest of the Pakistan squad. The commitment to the colours (yellow and blue, as well as green!) is impressive - yet it's seen throughout the Barry Town squad, not just from Atif.  Should Atif and the Greenshirts progress in the SAFF Championship it's doubtful he will be available for the home match against Goytre United on the 10th.  But you never know. Best wishes, Atif.  You're doing yourself, your country, and your club proud!

Here are some screen-grabs from the action so far;

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