Akhtar laments poor performance in SAFF, and more

By Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: The sub-standard coaching at departmental level has really destroyed football in Pakistan as the coaches at this level only concentrate on conditioning and never bother to work on the tactical and technical aspects of the game and that is why Pakistan have been badly suffering at international level these days.

This was stated by the now sacked Pakistan football team coach Akhtar Mohiuddin during a detailed interview with ‘The News’ after the team’s arrival on Sunday night after participating in the SAFF Championship held in Maldives.

“I don’t say that the national footballers lack potential but what I experienced during my stint as a head coach during the last few tournaments that the players are tactically and technically extremely weak and for all this I don’t blame the boys but those coaches who are working with them in their respective departments,” he pointed out.

Akhtar was sacked by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) the other day after failing to produce positive results in the SAFF Championship where the Greenshirts lost all their three matches against Maldives, India and Nepal.

“The tactical and technical aspects of the ill-prepared lot cannot be improved overnight and especially in a 15-day camp, but I would rather suggest if the PFF wants to really put the global sport in the country on right footing it should improve the quality of the coaches working at departmental level. These coaches are harming national football badly, because they are only producing athletes not footballers,” the angry former coach said.

While defending Pakistan’s humiliating spell during the SAFF event Akhtar said, “The football authorities had the knowledge that the team was badly missing skipper Muhammad Essa, goalkeeper Iltaf Ahmad, the strikers Muhammad Rasool, Zulfiqar Shah and defender Zeeshan Rehman due to fitness problems, and still they attached high hopes with the squad especially in a competition where you expect teams to come more prepared.

“I picked a few youngsters, hoping that they would perform well, but the federation was thinking otherwise, which was quite unrealistic,” he said. “We faced more problems in the defence and little bit in the midfield. Moreover, our goalkeeping department was weak in the tournament, especially against India.

“Overall the performance of the team was positive but mainly we could not win because of the poor individual efforts of the players. For instance if we got 16 chances, we utilised just a single, while the conversion rate of our oppositions was way better than us,” Akhtar explained.

“In future I would not coach the senior team unless the federation does not give me a proper contract. The foreign coaches are given two or three-year contract while we are assigned the task for a single tournament which is illogical,” he explained