Lutfi wants foreign contingent to attend full training camp

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan football team coach Tariq Lutfi has suggested the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) that foreign-based footballers should attend full-fledged training camps before any international assignment in order to gain top fitness.

Lutfi, who has come under fire after Pakistan’s first round exit in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, has pointed out to the PFF in his report after the qualifier against Bangladesh that foreign-based players should be made to attend the camp well in advance before the start of any international assignment so that they could achieve their top fitness and coordination with their other teammates.

“I have advised to the PFF in my report that foreign-based footballers should be made bound to attend training camp right from the start in the future so that they could achieve their top fitness level which they normally lack in,” Lutfi confirmed to ‘The News’ in an interview on Wednesday.

England-based defender Atif Bashir and midfielder Adnan Farooq Ahmed had joined the team barely five to six days before Pakistan team’s departure for Dhaka on June 26 for the first-leg of the qualifier while defender Zeeshan Rehman arrived directly in Dhaka from Thailand where he plays league fotball a single day before the match before skipping the second-leg due to security concerns.

He lamented that his forwards were not finish properly over the two legs adding that only through hectic exposure, players could learn how to score on half-chances.

“All my players fought valiantly. We need to invest more on exposure. Game development requires patience and continuity,” Lutfi said.

To a query he said that Faisal Iqbal from Bahawalpur was made vice-captain for the qualifier as a move of the PFF to prepare young leaders for the future.

But he said that it was not sole decision of the PFF but he as a coach had full authority and he had also recommended Faisal’s name along with four others for the vice-captaincy.

Team sources told ‘The News’ that Faisal’s appointment as a vice-captain had disturbed the team’s environment and the decision had frustrated majority of the players.

He made it clear that he is purely on the disposal of the PFF and he will continue his job as a coach on the willingness of the federation.

He called for making more investment in football so that the domestic structure could be boosted.

“I believe we need to invest more in our domestic league. If we insert professional players from foreign countries into our Premier League and boost up the privileges for the players playing in the league then I believe that it will bring a revolution in our football,” Lutfi added.