PFF giving cold shoulder to qualified local coaches

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan’s football chiefs have so far failed to utilise the services of a couple of qualified coaches who have got License B certificates through the AFC Future Coaches Project programme which is being administered by former Pakistan coach George Kottan.

Mehmood Khan, currently playing for National Bank, and Safiullah, a former KRL player who has now joined the Agriculture University Peshawar as Assistant Director Sports, are the coaches on whom the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have spent thousands of dollars. The AFC Future Coaches Programme wing has asked these young coaches to submit their updates about what they are doing in Pakistan in the field of coaching.

One of the two coaches has replied that he is doing nothing as a coach in Pakistan because the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has kept him away from any coaching programme.

In Pakistan, over two dozens of coaches are attached with the AID-27 programme and majority of them don’t deserve the jobs and the privileges attached to the process. A majority of these coaches don’t even have their academies and hold camps sporadically in a bid to draw salaries.

Both Mehmood Khan and Safiullah have been assisted by the AFC during their academic careers as coaches and now it is the responsibility of the PFF to give them assignments. Both are young and energetic and have even topped their courses. They were also sent to Spain by the AFC last year where they made analysis of matches of the top European clubs.

Safiullah Khan (standing 4th from left), Mehmood Khan (sitting far right) with other AFC coaches & instructor George Kottan (with World Cup trophy) in Spain, Dec 2010. (Photo by Safiullah Khan)

In March this year, both these coaches were also asked by the AFC Future Coaches Project Director to submit details of what they were doing as coaches in Pakistan. At that time too they had told them that they were playing and not doing any kind of coaching.

The PFF doesn’t seem interested in these coaches and if the authorities kept treating the duo in the same awkward way then they could also leave Pakistan as they are being lured by foreign clubs.

On the one hand, the PFF claims that it is doing a good job at grassroots level and is also producing coaches but on the other hand such talented coaches who have passed their coaching examinations with distinction are being neglected.

Mehmood and Safiullah were the only South Asians who were part of the AFC Future Coaches Project 2008 batch.

Last year, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa had also missed the project’s qualifying phase after he did not get Malaysia’s visa in time. The PFF could have helped the country’s prolific playmaker but they did not do. Essa, who has got License C certificate from the AFC, will again visit Malaysia for the qualifying phase in November.

Similarly, former Pakistan vice-captain Adeel Ahmad is also busy in doing similar coaching courses but nobody in the PFF even knows what is going on. The PFF should know that all these players, who are pursuing coaching, are not ordinary people because they have done a remarkable job as players for the Pakistan team. If they have done any coaching course or are undergoing such exercises they should be helped and should not be discouraged.

When one of the coaches asked a top official of the PFF few days back that the AFC Future Coaches Project Director has asked him to send his updates what he is doing in Pakistan as a coach, the official replied, “They have asked you to submit the updates and we have nothing to do with the matter.”