Coaches reluctant to go for Pro Licence course

KARACHI: Leading football coaches in Pakistan are reluctant to undergo the most important Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Pro Licence coaching course because of financial constraints and uncertain future prospects, ‘The News’ has learnt through interaction with a few front-running coaches in the national circuit.

Nasir Ismail, Shehzad Anwar, Tariq Lutfi and Siddique Sheikh are the only Licence A holders in Pakistan, while 39 coaches have obtained Licence B.

As there are chances that after four years the continental football governing body (AFC) could make the Pro Licence compulsory for the head coaches of any country in the continent, Pakistan may face problems if it does not get its top coaches’ qualification enhanced.

“I cannot apply for the Pro Licence because of its huge fee of $10,000 which I cannot afford,” one of the Licence A coaches told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.

“What is the guarantee that I will be able to serve the country if I gain the Pro Licence? If in spite of obtaining the top degree, the PFF ignores me for the top job who will be responsible for the loss which I will have to face?” the coach said.

Another coach said that he had already discussed the issue with the PFF and he was promised that he would be recommended and partially supported if he applied for the course.

“If the PFF extends fifty percent financial support then I will apply for the course,” the coach said.

When a top PFF official was contacted he said that if any one wanted to do the course he should apply for it and the federation would recommend him.

But when he was told that the coaches would not be able to undertake the whole programme by spending from their own pocket, the official said that they should show some courage and the PFF would also help them.

But it seemed from his tone that the federation would not be able to extend much financial support to those Licence A coaches who would like to improve their qualification.

Nasir Ismail of National Bank and Shehzad Anwar of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) are the youngest of the four Licence A coaches in Pakistan. They are AFC certified while Tariq Lutfi and Siddique Sheikh are qualified from Germany and their credentials have been declared by the AFC equal to Licence A.

PFF would have no option but to hire a foreigner if in 2017 it becomes mandatory for AFC members to have Pro Licence holders as their head coach.

Nasir topped Licence A coaching course in Sri Lanka, while Shehzad got third position.

Nasir, who has also been serving the national senior and junior teams as coach since 2007, recently guided National Bank to a title winning triumph in the National Football Challenge Cup in Bahawalpur. Shehzad, who attended a workshop in Brazil a couple of years back, is working with Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic as assistant coach of the national team.

Shehzad has also been hired by PAF as head coach for the Premier League starting after Eid-ul-Fitr. Zavisa is also currently undergoing UEFA Pro Licence in Serbia.

by Alam Zeb Safi [The News]