‘Local talent more rewarding than foreign’ Lutfi

Muhammad Ali and Hassan Bashir, in action against Singapore
Muhammad Ali and Hassan Bashir, in action against Singapore

By Natasha Raheel, The Express Tribune

KARACHI: While Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavjlevic aims at churning out at least two victories at the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan, former national and current KRL coach Tariq Lutfi feels that qualifying for the final round will be a Herculean task.

Lutfi emphasised that Milosavjlevic needs to concentrate more on the local talent instead of giving importance to the foreign-based players for lasting results.

As the team flew to Dubai for a week’s preparation before the qualifiers, three out of five foreign-based players are still missing, also skipping the practice-match with the UAE Army team.

According to assistant coach Shehzad Anwar, the team is depending on the foreign-based players Yousaf Butt, Yaqoob Butt, Hassan Bashir, Muhammad Ali, and Adnan Ahmed to strengthen the team against Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Macau in their group B matches at the qualifiers.

“It’s going to be a very cosmetic result even if they do well with the foreign-based players,” Lutfi told The Express Tribune. “The problem with foreign-based players is that they don’t join in before and there is a natural divide within the team. If they are coming to play for Pakistan they should at least commit their time completely.

“Over-emphasis on foreign-based players is hindering long-term progress; this preference is a let-down for the local players as well.”