Tariq Lutfi appointed as women’s team head coach for 2010 SAFF Womens Championship

Lahore, 3 November: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has appointed former national men team coach Tariq Lutfi (PIA) as Coach of the National Women football team which is to appear in the inaugural SAFF Women Championship as South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) is all set to organize women football among its member nations from 3-13 December 2010 when Bangladeshi town Cox’s Bazar will host inaugural SAFF Women Championship.

Tariq Lutfi at FIFA HQ with FIFA World Cup trophy

Tariq, first-ever FIFA Coaching Instructor from South Asia either in men or women soccer arena, is currently manager of PIA football team that is third in Pakistan Premier Football League, behind WAPDA (44 pts) and Pak Army (36) with 29 points and a game in hand.

“For me it is important that ladies are playing football in Pakistan and it was make possible by dedication of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat. I noticed they have a zeal for the game. Girls are playing and nobody is asking why they are playing football. It is healthy sign considering the cultural barriers,” said Lutfi who also played his role when Pakistan won the golds in Islamabad 1989, 2004 and Colombo 1991 SAG Games.

Having coaching Qualification through Bisham Abbey, Zbigiew Szumuski, Tomi Salave Ivic, Bert Trautmann, Holger Osiek, Burkhard Ziese, Terry Cassie Dittmer Cramer, Lutfi attended several FIFA and Olympic Courses. He represented Top Division Team PIA from 1976-1985, which is a record nine Time National Champion team, Lutfi was also coach when in 2006, Jordan Football Association (JFA) hosted third Amman international Women Futsal Championship at Jordanian capital of Amman.

Lutfi also attended FIFA Women’s football instructor seminar (1-2 March 2007) when a total total of 19 instructors (15 women, 4 men) gathered for the first seminar in Zurich specifically dedicated to training coaches and instructors in women’s football. The two main topics were: defining the requirements of member associations, and coaching programmes to be developed by FIFA accordingly. It was suggested the programme be established at three performance levels: grass roots and school football, club football and international football (i.e. national coaching staff etc). Earlier in 2006, he was Course Coordinator for FIFA Women Coaching Seminar in Jordan, with Vera Pauw FIFA Instructor and National Women Coach of Netherlands.

Lutfi took over charge of National Men team for the first time in 1985 when A.H. Shahzad-led team toured Dhaka for 2nd SAF Games Dhaka. His coaching skills were brilliant when he created record by winning all three league matches during 5th SAFF championship at Dhaka 2003. His other noticeable coaching assignments were 4th Quaid-i-Azam event, 10th Asian Games at Seoul 1986, 15th World Cup QR, Ist SAFF Championship 1993, 13th Asian Cup, 18th World Cup QR 2003 and Islamic Games, Indo-Pak Series 2005. He was also coach of Pakistan in 26th Asian YU19 Championship 1988 at Bahrain.

Lutfi, 59, living in Karachi’s Gulberg Town said although conservative dress code for women in Pakistan may not be an obstacles, followers of the game should be patient to produce satisfactory results. He believed it would take some time for Pakistani women to make an impression, considering their performance in third Amman Women’s Football Futsal Championship four year ago. Lutfi stressed on betterment of infrastructure and facilities for women soccer, and added that lively events and related activities are required to infuse more enthusiasm in women’s football.

“Of course, money is needed for women’s soccer, but what is more important is that women should be engaged and attracted to the game in this part of the world. We need sincere efforts and dedication from officials for the uplift of women soccer in Pakistan.” concluded Lutfi.

Meanwhile, Pakistani skipper Ishrat Fatima (Sports Sciences, Punjab University) and 6th National Women Championship top scorer Malaika Noor (Young Rising Star) along with Syeda Mahpara, Roshnan Ali, Rozina Ghazi, Asmara Kiani,Shumaila Sattar Humera Nazir, Rafia Perveen, Azra Nasir, Mehwish Khan Asma Usman, Tahira reported at Model Town Football Academy Ground, Lahore in the build up for the National Women football team to appear in the inaugural SAFF Women Championship as South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) is all set to organize women´s football among its member nations from 3-13 December 2010 when Bangladeshi town Cox’s Bazar will host inaugural SAFF women Championship.

The remaining 17 players who will report later on are

Rawalpindi’s Young Rising Star (2): Sahar Zaman, Sana Mehmood
Pak WAPDA (2): Saba Barkatullah, Nadia Bhatti
Sports Sciences, Punjab University (4): Naima Mukhtar, Irsa Batool, Shagufta Akhtar, Aisha Hussain
Balochistan United (5): Sohaila Zareen, Shahlyla Baloch, Shahida, Riffat Mehdi, Shaista Laghari
IFA (3) : Mejzgaan Orakzai, Abeeha Masood, Fauzia Malik,
Diya FC (1): Hajra Khan