PFF consider Sharida as coach

Salman SharidaKARACHI: The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is considering replacing the current Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic with Salman Ahmed Sharida of Bahrain in future, well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Saturday.

Sources said that a delegation of the PFF met Sharida during its visit to Bahrain a few days ago and discussed with him different issues regarding Pakistan’s coaching job. Sources said that Sharida, who has already worked as Pakistan coach in 2005-06, agreed to serve Pakistan once again but insisted that Pakistan would have to provide him private accommodation so that he could spend time during his coaching stint peacefully. The PFF delegation promised that this would be considered, sources said.

Sharida is expected to visit Pakistan next month and there are high chances that he would be brought back to coach the national team, who need skilled hands to lift them at the international level. Sources said that Sharida’s expenses would be met by Bahrain Football Association and Pakistan would have to provide him with tidy accommodation, conveyance and other facilities during his stay.

The credit of bringing Sharida — if he comes — will definitely go to the PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat, who has strong ties with the Bahrain Football Association’s chief

Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, who is also a candidate for the president’s slot of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in its elections to be held this year.

Sharida is currently working with a television station of Qatar as commentator for $15,000 monthly package, sources said.

When Sharida was Pakistan’s coach six years ago, the team had started producing good results. Under his coaching Pakistan not only retained the title in the 2006 South Asian Games in Colombo, but also looked impressive in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

In that continental event, Pakistan extended tough resistance to strong teams that also played in the FIFA World Cup.

Pakistan went down to strong Japan 3-2, conceded their game against Syria 2-0 and North Korea managed only a 1-0 victory against the Greenshirts.

Soon after the Asian Games, Sharida left his job as Pakistan coach. Since then the authorities have experimented with both local and foreign coaches but no major improvement has been seen in the country’s performance at international level.

In 2009 PFF brought in Austrian coach George Kottan and although he had technically improved the team, he was unable to get out the best from his charges in international competitions during his year-long association with the outfit from February 2009 to February 2010. After Kottan’s exit PFF once again signed Akhtar Mohiuddin, but he was sent home after serving as head coach at the 2010 China Asian Games and replaced by Tariq Lutfi.

But under Lutfi too Pakistan failed to perform in the World Cup Qualifiers, Olympic Qualifiers and the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in 2011 which once again forced the authorities to opt for a foreign coach.

On November 5, 2011, Zavisa was given the reins of Pakistan team. The Serbian is still serving without having brought any substantial improvement. His next assignment is the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in which the Greenshirts have been placed in Group B that also carries hosts Kyrgyzstan, former champions Tajikistan and Macau.

The matches in the qualifiers will be held in the later part of March.

If Sharida agrees to serve as Pakistan coach, Zavisa will have to be shown the exit door.

Sources said that the PFF was spending huge money on Zavisa and it will be easier to keep Sharida, if he is paid by Bahrain. Zavia’s two-year contract expires in November this year.

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]