Coach Zavisa plans Pakistani talent hunt in England and Denmark

By Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: Pakistan football coach Zavisa Milosavljevic plans to visit England and Denmark in order to watch those footballers who want to play for Pakistan.“My plan is to go to England and Denmark in the near future and to see all those players who are willing to play for Pakistan. The best way to judge a player is to see him playing in official matches,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ on Monday from Lahore after returning from vacations in Serbia.

“After checking players based abroad I will compare them with the Pakistani lads and then their future will be decided,” said Zavisa, a former junior team player of Serbia.He praised England-based Atif Bashir and Adnan Ahmad. “Both Atif and Adnan are good and experienced players. They are the sort of players who can do what the coach says,” he said. Apart from Atif and Adnan, some foreign-based players like Zeeshan Rehman, Shabbir Khan, Irfan Khan, Yousuf Butt and Reis Ashraf have already represented Pakistan.

Similarly, Denmark-based defender Nabil Aslam, strikers Mohammad Ali and Hassan Bashir are some of those competent players who want to represent Pakistan.Hassan Bashir, playing in the third-tier Danish League, was unlucky not to make his international debut when Pakistan’s series against India scheduled in England last summer was cancelled just hours before the departure of the team.Zavisa revealed that he would hold the national senior team camp at Lahore from February 15 for which the names would be announced at the end of this month.

“Twenty-five players will be called for the camp. There will be some new and interesting names in the list which I have picked during the last few days of the Premier League,” he disclosed.He said that he would meet the PFF top officials in the next few days and would discuss with them the future plan he has submitted. However, he said that no foreign tour for the senior team has been finalised as no foreign country has responded positively to Pakistan’s request.Zavisa, who was signed as national coach on November 5 last year for two years, supervised Pakistan team during the SAFF Championship held in New Delhi from December 2-12 last year. All three of Pakistan’s group matches, against former champions Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal, ended in draw.

Pakistan had held Bangladesh and Maldives to a goalless draw and played a 1-1 draw against Nepal, which caused their pre-mature ouster from the tournament.Zavisa also plans to start the Under-22 team camp from May 7 in order to prepare it for the Under-22 Asian Championship Qualifiers to be held in June-July at a venue yet to be decided. “Under-22 Asian Championship Qualifiers is our main target and we plan to hold National Under22 Championship in the last week of April which will help us pick better stuff,” Zavisa said.Although there is no international commitment for the senior team, for the Under-22 side, apart from the Asian Cup Qualifiers, South Asian Games to be held at the end of this year in India is also a tough target. Pakistan, which have to their credit four titles in the SAG, flopped in the last South Asian Games held in Dhaka in early 2010 under the then coach George Kottan.