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Busy Iqbal asks to work part-time
The versatile and talented Amjad Iqbal is still very much the man of the moment, and he revealed this week that he has compromised his livelihood to maximise his football career.
The player is expecting confirmation that he has been selected for the Pakistani national squad to represent the country of his forebears - he is a first-generation English-born Asian - in two World Cup qualifiers against Iraq.
Iqbal has had extended trials with several Football League clubs but, after beginning his playing days at Thackley, has spent most of his career at Throstle Nest.
He is now playing regularly at the highest level of his career so far - in the Blue Square Premier, England's unofficial fifth division. It is the only nationwide division outside the Football League.
To make the most of it he has taken a calculated risk and asked his day-job employers Bradford College, where he is a chemistry lecturer, if he can switch to part-time.
"Doing that will give me more time to spend training with Farsley. I'm at the club almost every day and we have big sessions on Monday evening, Wednesday evening and Thursday during the day," said Iqbal.
"The midweek games are usually Tuesday night so it's almost a full-time job playing football for Farsley.
"It must be really hard on some of the lads who still have to work full-time on top of what they do here."
Iqbal was delighted to receive a call from the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) regarding the coming World Cup games.
He thought it was a wind-up at first but when he started seeing his name and player profile on the footballpakistan.com website he realised it was genuine.
"Cricket is still the No 1 sport in Pakistan but things are changing. There is a UK-based co-ordinator looking for overseas players to add to the squad. Hopefully that will help Pakistan football climb up the world rankings.
"They are not just looking in the UK, they are keeping players in mind throughout Europe - anywhere that players are playing at a high level and getting experience that they wouldn't get back home in Pakistan.
"The PFF are channeling funds into the game and it is moving closer to cricket in popularity.
"They have also appointed a new manager. They have put David Burns in charge. He is a well-respected coach who is UK-based but has worked in the Caribbean and Asia.
"It is a complete overhaul as the PFF have also improved all the structure. The under-21s under-18s and under-16s are getting funding and better coaching right from grass-roots level. Football is changing in the country."