PFF rules out Graham Roberts’ role over ‘lack of funds’

[Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2010]

KARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has dismissed the possibility of hiring a foreign coach after their request for financial assistance was rejected by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). The PFF was considering hiring former Tottenham Hotspur player Graham Roberts as a full-time coach after his short stint with the team as a coaching consultant before the Asian Games.

However, the PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said the appointment will not be discussed in the body’s executive committee meeting (ECM) being held today.

“We’ve given up hopes of a foreign coach’s appointment,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “We don’t have enough funds and since our requests are being ignored, there is no point in discussing the appointment.”

Pakistan are looking forward to the next year where they will feature in high profile events like the Asian Qualifiers for London Olympics in February and March. The AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are the other major events to be contested by the national team in 2011. “We’re aware of next year’s importance but we might have to rely on local coaches,” said Lodhi.

The PFF felt that players will miss the skills of Roberts. “We’d have loved him in our dug-out but things are not going in our way.”

Meanwhile, Lodhi added the ECM will mainly focus on projects including the Fifa Goal Projects in Karachi and Peshawar besides discussing holding more national tournaments next year.