Essa: I want to coach after retirement

Muhammad Essa at 2011 NFCC final in Faisalabad

Former Pakistan national team captain, and one of the most recognisable names and faces in history of Pakistani football, Muhammad Essa Khan has stated his interest to take up coaching after finishing his playing career in an exclusive interview with FootballPakistan.Com (FPDC).

Our Karachi correspondent Mr Riaz Ahmed caught up with the current KESC team captain for an exclusive FPDC interview when Muhammad Essa was a guest watching his beloved Afghan FC Chaman beating NBP 2-1 at KPT Stadium in Karachi on 20 Sept 2011.

Essa met the Afghan FC players during half time and praised them for their splendid performance against a resurgent NBP team. During the game, Afghan FC coach Adam Khan frequently sought Essa’s advice on tactics and play from the stands.

Riaz Ahmed quizzed Essa about his keen interest in coaching, to which the 2004 and 2006 SAF Games gold winner replied “Because I love the game of football and I have been a footballer for all my life. That is why as a player I want to have my whole focus on coaching after retirement from game. ”

Essa also stated the success of his Essa Khan Football Academy in his native city of Chaman (Balochistan) that has been running smoothly for 2 years now and is training players from U14 to U19 age levels. Regarding the running expenses of the academy, Essa stated that local district officials had initially provided him with a fund of Rs 0.6 million to help initiate the academy. When asked about support from national football authorities, Essa stated that while the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has not provided any support for his academy but they do have a keen eye on players from his academy teams to participate in national and international youth football events.

Muhammad Essa Khan was born on 20 Novemeber 1983 in Chaman, Balochistan. He began his professional career when he debuted as a contracted player for PIA against Sui Southern Gas (SSGC) at the 48th National Football Championship 2001 that took place at Mali Bagh Stadium in Quetta from 29 July till 19 August. Later, Essa played for PTCL, WAPDA, KRL, and is now captain of the KESC team in Karachi. He was first called up to play in 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers back in May 2001 for Pakistan team against Lebanon, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. He was later a vital part of the 2004 SAF Games gold winning team and was made captain soon afterwards until he announced his retirement from international football at the end of 2009 SAFF Cup in Bangladesh after differences with coach George Kottan.

Because of his keen interest in coaching, Essa said that he had took part in the AFC ‘C’ License Coaching Course last year in Iran as part of the ‘Vision Asia’ program to get his qualifications sorted. Essa said that the PFF has been very helpful in helping him take part in various coaching courses and is confident that he will soon be taking part in upcoming AFC ‘B’ License Coaching Course in Malaysia.

“Whenever I visit Chaman, I fully dedicate myself to my academy and my club. My academy has become a nursery for future Afghan FC stars”. Essa also said that current stars like Sher Ali, Himmat Khan, and Muhammad Khan are products of the Essa Khan Academy and are proving their worth for the club. In fact, current Pakistan U16 star winger Sher Ali was revealed to be a product of Essa’s academy in Chaman.

Sher Ali was one of the stars for Pak U16 in the SAFF U16 Championship win a few months back in Nepal. Sher Ali had scored 4 goals in the tournament to be joint top scorer, as well as assisting 2 goals against Maldives and 1 against Afghanistan in the ongoing 2012 AFC U16 Championship qualifiers Group B in Kuwait.

Essa stated that even at KESC, he works together with the coaching staff of Hassan Baloch and Akbar Baloch for benefit of team. He stated it was his dream to become not just the head coach of his department but also of the Pakistan national team in future.

Essa said that whatever valuable insight he learned from foreign coaches like John Layton, Dave Burns, Wang Xiao He, Salman Sharida, and George Kottan over his nearly 10 year long international career, he wants to pass on to the coming generation of footballers.