Zavisa: ‘Not playing is costing us dearly’

KARACHI: Pakistan football’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic has rued the lost opportunity after the cancellation of international friendlies scheduled for February 29 and March 4.

The matches were called off after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) failed to convince any team for the two-match series and even turned down Uzbekistan’s offer of playing in Dubai, blaming lack of finances for the trip.

However, Milosavljevic believed that Pakistan badly needed international exposure and must play high-class opposition if his plans for the side are to be implemented.

“Since no country is available to play with Pakistan, I’m thinking about asking the Serbian team to play the friendly matches,” Milosavljevic told The Express Tribune. “I can only do my job if the team plays international matches because the domestic structure in Pakistan is so poor that I can’t rely on it to implement my plans for the side.

“I need to see these players in international matches in order to gauge their progress. I’m extremely concerned about the lack of international exposure before the Asian Football Confederation under-22 Cup Qualifiers in June and July.”

Milosavljevic, though, admitted that the idea of playing Serbia was far from being implemented at such a short notice but he was doing his best to convince the PFF on working on his suggestion. The coach felt that Pakistan would learn a lot from the experience of playing a strong opposition like Serbia as the country had a very vibrant football culture.

‘Even seniors needs to improve technique’

Meanwhile, a 10-day camp for the senior team will kick off in Lahore on February 20, in which 26 footballers will take part.

The camp was originally scheduled to prepare the team for the international friendlies but despite their cancellation Milosavljevic wanted all players to attend it.

“Even senior players in the national team need to improve their technique, so I’m going ahead with the camp. The PFF has told me that it’s still trying to cut a deal with different countries for the friendly series and I want the players to be in shape in case it does take place.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.