Zavisa keen for Pak talent on foreign soil

Alam Zeb Safi [The News]

KARACHI: Pakistan football team coach Zavisa Milosavljevic plans to visit England and Denmark in November to watch a few players of Pakistani origin as they turn up for their respective clubs.

“I plan to visit England and Denmark in November to watch all foreign-based players of Pakistani origin. And I would expect them to join Pakistan team and give sacrifice for the country of their origin,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ in an interview on Sunday.

“I will really expect them to give their best as their inputs could earn much honour for the country which needs to raise its standard at international level,” the Serbian said.

Defender Nabil Aslam who plays for the Danish Superliga side AC Horsens, goalkeeper Yousuf Butt, strikers Hasan Bashir and Mohammad Ali are the key players playing in Denmark while England-based left-back Shabir Khan, midfielder Adnan Ahmad, defender Atif Bashir and Zeeshan Rehman, playing in Thailand league, are those who are on the radar of the coach.

Most of them have already played for Pakistan. However, some of them have not been watched by Zavisa and he is eager to observe their skills with a close eye.

Zavisa’s plan is to build a solid and fighting side for the next year’s AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers which will be held in a yet to be decided venue.

The Serbian, serving Pakistan as a coach since November last year, believes that he will not be able to form a good team without the insertion of a few key foreign-based boys.

“If we are unable to get a few foreign-based players in the senior side then we cannot expect any good result from the outfit,” said Zavisa.

Apart from the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers, Pakistan are also looking forward to field their Under-23 team in an international tournament in Sri Lanka in December.

Zavisa claimed that he has full support of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) President and Secretary in bringing foreign-based players.

“I have full support of the PFF top bosses, the president and secretary, as they have told me to bring in foreign-based players and form a good side and I will try my level best to rope in more players from abroad,” he said.

Zavisa also revealed that he has also talked with the Singapore football team’s coach that Pakistan would like to play international friendlies against them on FIFA days that fall on November 16 and 19.

“I have talked to Singapore’s coach who is also Serbian and hopefully we will be able to finalise the deal under which Pakistan would play two matches against them in Singapore on FIFA days in November,” he conceded.

To a query Zavisa said if the Singapore tour was made possible then he would like to hold a shorter camp due to the ongoing Pakistan Premier League for the said purpose.

After taking reins of coaching from former Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi on November 3 last year, Zavisa supervised the national senior team that failed to reach the semifinals of the SAFF Cup in New Delhi in December last year. Then under him the Under-22 team flopped miserably in the Asian Cup Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia in June-July.

Since last December the senior team has not played a single international match which has been badly affecting the country’s world ranking.