Graham plans for Pakistan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s football coaching consultant Graham Roberts is keen on promoting the game in the country, although he has an uncertain fate with the team.

The former Tottenham Hotspur centreback, who has been with the team for over two months, is now busy arranging fixtures for the side with English clubs. “I am in talks with various English clubs who have shown interest to play with the Pakistan team,” Roberts told The Express Tribune. “It is nearly impossible to host international teams in Pakistan and playing against these clubs will definitely provide good exposure for the team, which I believe has talented players.”

The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has been negotiating with Roberts to take on the role of head coach but the former England footballer is yet to confirm his contract. Meanwhile, Roberts also has many plans to help give the necessary boost to Pakistan football which cannot be possible without getting a green signal by the PFF.

“I have lived in Pakistan for weeks and have not seen any dearth in talent. The players just require guidance and I have a lot of plans for them. I am just waiting for the PFF to implement my plans.”

Roberts said he was in touch with various English footballers of Pakistani origin and is trying to get them to play for the country. “I am convincing various players including Adil Nabi who has experience of playing in the England under-19 and West Brom teams.”

The PFF has welcomed the concerns Roberts has shown for promoting football in the country and expressed its eagerness to appoint him as the head coach. “It is very kind of Roberts to show concerns for Pakistan football,” PFF secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “He has great credentials and we are looking forward to appointing him as head coach.”

Lodhi added that the lack of funds was hindering the appointment. “The government is yet to respond to our call as we lack funds, and that’s the reason for the delay.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2010.