Pakistan needs to play more matches: Roberts

LAHORE: Pakistan’s newly-appointed football consultant Graham Roberts has pledged to help the nation and believed that the country has the potential to become a force to reckon with in the near future.

The 51-year-old has been appointed a Technical and Coaching Consultant on an eight-week contract for the Asian Games that will be held from November. Pakistan are placed in Group F alongside Thailand, Oman and Maldives.

“I had two other coaching options in England but I took this role because it’s a challenge for me,” said Roberts in a press conference at the Football House. “I think I can help Pakistan football with the assistance of the coaches to make it a major force in the world and improve their ranking. Pakistan deserve to be higher and they should be because there are some very talented people working at the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). We want to take this at another level now.

“This country has talented young boys. I never expected it to be so good here. All they need is to play matches. The coaches have done a fantastic job ahead of the Asian Games and there are only the final bits remaining.”

The PFF has been hiring foreign coaches in a bid to improve the standard of the sport in the country as Austrian George Kotten, who worked until last year, and Bahrain’s Ahmed Shardia, have worked with the Pakistan team.

However, little success has been met as Pakistan currently stand at 162nd in Fifa rankings.

Meanwhile, Roberts has previously managed Yeovil Town and Clyde but has been out of work since leaving the Scottish side in acrimonious circumstances in 2006.

“You only get better by playing games and we want them to play more. We want to get the structure right from the bottom and then build bridges.

“And although I have a very short time here to share my experience, I’m sure things will improve.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2010.