Pakistani footballers to undertake visit of South East Asia from Sunday

Tariq hopes to get team ‘organized’ in Thailand
Lahore, 1 February :  Tariq Lutfi was hopeful that the players will do well against Thailand Olympic team in one-off test and Malaysia in the Olympics Qualifier ”Look at Slovakia who celebrated a first appearance in World Cup last year since they began playing as an independent nation in 1994. We should draw inspiration from them and put in our best efforts as our real fight will be against tough Malaysian outfit”. They had been performing very well lately in Southeast Asia, becoming titlist of both regional competitions –  25th SEA Games and 8th ASEAN Championship (also known as AFF Suzuki Cup). But anything could happen anytime, You never know as Pakistan also grabbed record four golds in soccer tourney of South Asian Games. I am looking forward to playing Malaysia during two legged encounters on 23 February and 9 March 2011.“Coaching soccer is a complex task- it requires a lot of specific skills and knowledge. You need an understanding of soccer specific skills as well as the ability to manage a team and develop teamwork. You need to have an understanding of nutrition and sport science, physiology, psychology and biomechanics. Some gain this through years of coaching and experience, while you can fast track your knowledge with plenty of research and reading,” said Lutfi under whose managership, PIA had broken hoodoo of  WAPDA, Army, KRL who knotted top three berths in Pakistan Premier League from 2004-2009, with PIA snatching third spot in PPFL 2010.Pakistan football team will undertake fifth visit of  Thailand when they will play three warm up matches and U23 international friendly during two-week Camp from 6-20 February. The previous journeys of Pakistan were seen in 1981, 2001 and 2004 and 2009. It will be first ever visit of  Thailand for Tariq Lutfi (PIA) as Pakistani coach who earned one-year coaching assignment for National Team  from Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat on 15 January 2011. “The deal is for full 2011 but hopefully it will lead to a longer term agreement,” said Tariq who is on verge of retirement from PIA, already appeared in his last Pakistan Premier Football League. 

A huge framed picture of the Pakistan U14 team after their splendid display in the AFC U14 Festrival of Football at Iranian Hamedan City adorns the lounge of the FIFA Football House at Lahore. After a daily meeting with the youngers born on or after 1.1.1989 team, which has gathered in the Punjab Province en route a training trip to Thailand, coach Tariq Lutfi, recalled after six years by PFF, stopped for a long look at the picture.” I would like to see a similar frame of Pakistan Olymic team put up next to it soon,” said Tariq whose full name in Umar Farooq Tariq Lutfi.

The Karachi-born coach seemed all excited about the trip where the players would first get fitness training and then get “organized” as a team in the country lies in the heart of Southeast Asia,  bordered  to the west by the Andaman Sea. “The physique used to make the difference whenever Pakistanis, Indians players figured against the Asian Powerhouses and Indian coach Bob Houghton once again stated that physique was the “difference” when they lost to Australia 0-4 in recently-concluded Doha’s 15th Asian Cup. 

We’ll do technical and tactical training and get to play few matches with some age-limit teams and local clubs. These are the best players of the country and in Thailand we’ll get organized as a team.”

When asked about his choice of Thailand as a training base, Lutfi said, “Unlike the Premier League clubs who usually look at the business angle of things, Thais are offering us something. They will help us with training facilities and of course, it’s a beautiful country.”

“The basic purpose of our tour to Thailand is to groom the players so that they could learn more things, could play on excellent pitches and in excellent environment. The more our players play there the more they will learn,” longest-serving coach of Pakistan Tariq said and added that he has been a coach in Pakistan for almost three decades earned his first foray into National football with debut in 1985 when Arbab Hayat Shahzada-led team toured Dhaka for 2nd SAF Games Dhaka.”There is a big psychological factor in the Thailand-bound team. I will try to bring a winning, aggressive mentality in the boys. One of the things I look for in a player is his overall determination, habits and his mental make-up”.”Footballers of Thailand are very quick and by playing with them our boys will also learn how to play fast game,” the 59-year old coach concluded who will visit Thailand for the first time as coach after Younus Rana, John Layton, Wang Ziao He and George Kottan from 1981-2009.