Zavisa may get another chance

KARACHI: Pakistan’s football coach Zavisa Milosavljevic is expected to be given another chance, this time to prepare the national football team for the SAFF Cup to be hosted by Nepal from September 20 to October 2.

After a brief conversation with a top official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), it became clear that the Serbian is likely to get another lifeline.

It was widely expected that Zavisa would be sacked after Pakistan failed to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup following a dismal display in the qualifiers held in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan recently.

But because of the strict terms and conditions of the contract it was not an easy thing for the authorities to fire the foreigner before the expiry of his contract.

A top official of the PFF has said that the contract could be ended by giving a 90-day notice.

In view of this condition, it seems that the PFF wants to give him most probably the last chance to prepare the side for the biggest regional football slots to be staged in Kathmandu.

However, a top official of the PFF said they had not yet decided about the Serbian’s future. He reluctantly said that there was a chance that he would be given the task to hold the national team’s camp for the eight-team affair at the end of this month.

The 52-year-old Zavisa is in Lahore these days and he sometimes visits the City School in the Punjab capital to watch the training session of the Pakistan colts preparing for the 2014 Under-14 AFC Championship Qualifiers to be held in Mashhad, Iran, at the end of this month.

It would be the second time that Zavisa would be coaching Pakistan for the SAFF Cup.

The Serbian’s first test was the SAFF Cup hosted by New Delhi in December 2011, after he had taken charge from former coach Tariq Lutfi on November 5. But he failed to push his side to the semi-finals stage.

After that Zavisa was given the task of preparing the junior team for the AFC Under-22 Championship Qualifiers but in spite of getting all possible support from the PFF, the coach failed to produce encouraging results as the juniors flopped badly in the qualifiers hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh in June-July 2012.

His latest assignment was to prepare the senior team for the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.

Pakistan have never won SAFF Cup in its 19-year history. In 1997 the Greenshirts finished third.

India have won the tournament six times, while Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka have to their credit one title each.

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]