FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers: McKeal Abdullah set to represent Pakistan, Easah Suliman unavailable

Pakistan will face Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan next month

May 20, 2024
Abdullah is considered one of the brightest young talents in the Asian circuit of English football. -X/Mansfield Town

KARACHI: The Pakistan football team will have the services of 18-year-old striker McKeal Abdullah during next month’s FIFA World Cup 2026 Asian Qualifiers.

Abdullah plays for Mansfield Town, which is a team that competes in EFL League Two, the fourth level of the English football league system. However, the club will feature in EFL League One in the 2024–25 season after securing promotion.

Abdullah is considered one of the brightest young talents in the Asian circuit of English football.

Earlier, Blackburn Rovers U21 goalkeeper Adam Khan also received a maiden call-up to the Pakistan national team.

Meanwhile, star winger Otis Khan and left-back Mohammad Fazal are also returning to the Pakistan team for the upcoming matches against Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan.

However, captain and star defender Easah Suliman will not be available for the next two games as he's going for Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage.

Pakistan will play matches against Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan on June 6 and 11, respectively, in the second round of the qualifiers. The match against Saudi Arabia will be held at Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad, whereas the fixture against Tajikistan will take place at the Dushanbe Central Stadium.

Pakistan are at the bottom of Group G as they have lost all their four matches they have played so far. Pakistan began their journey with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia in Al-Ahsa in November followed by a 6-1 loss at the hands of Tajikistan at Islamabad in the same month.

Jordan then defeated Pakistan 3-0 in Islamabad in a game held in Ramadan with the Shaheens also losing the reverse fixture 7-0 at the Amman International Stadium.

The local players are currently training in Islamabad under the watchful eye of head coach Stephen Constantine. The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) had called up 21 players for the camp. 

Faizan Lakhani is Deputy Editor (Sports) at Geo News.