Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Well aware of the future challenges that Pakistan will face in international football and coach Zavisa Milosavljevic’s intention to quit in November, Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has started its quest to rope in another foreigner to replace the Serbian.
During interaction with a top official of the PFF it became clear that it wanted to continue with a foreign coach even after Zavisa relinquishes his job after completion of his two-year contract which will expire in the first week of November.
Zavisa took charge as Pakistan’s coach on November 5, 2011, replacing Tariq Lutfi. His first assignment was the SAFF Cup held in India.
Although he is not likely to continue his job after expiry of his contract, a top official of the PFF said that Zavisa’s contract could be extended if he produced desired results in the SAFF Cup which would be hosted by Nepal in Kathmandu from September 1-11. “If he clicked in SAFF Cup then he may be given another chance,” said the official. But according to sources close to the Serbian he would quit after expiry of his contract.
Sources said that in spite of his intention to quit as Pakistan’s coach, Zavisa would try his best to produce a good result in the SAFF Cup because it would improve his credentials as a coach. The PFF has started its efforts to enter into a deal with another foreign coach.
A PFF official claimed that Pakistan would be able to get another foreign coach by the end of November. “We are in contact with several coaches from Gulf and Europe and hopefully we will strike a deal with one of them by the end of November,” said the official.
When he was asked whether Pakistan’s former Bahraini coach Salman Sharida is expected to be hired, he said, “Sharida is one of those we are in contact with. And a German is also interested.” However, the official said that Sharida had not been in touch with coaching for quite a while because of his commitment as a TV commentator.
Sharida was Pakistan’s coach in 2005 and 2006 and under his supervision Pakistan not only won gold medal in the South Asian Games but his charges also put up a tough fight in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
Zavisa, who would supervise the Pakistan’s team camp for the two back-to-back tours of Bangladesh and Afghanistan from August 1 ahead of the SAFF Cup, arrived in Lahore on Monday after undergoing Europa Pro-License coaching course in Serbia.
Meanwhile, sources said that it would not be an easy job for the PFF to rope in a coach of a high caliber without the support of the government. The government had released Rs20 million to the PFF for hiring Zavisa who according to sources gets around $9,300 per month besides other perks and privileges.
But now it seems difficult for the PFF to get any support from the government because both are involved in a tense legal battle regarding the implementation of the national sports policy.
Almost all the South Asian countries depend on foreign coaches. Two Dutch coaches and a Dutch trainer are busy these days preparing the Bangladesh team for SAFF Cup. And they are also willing to hire a foreign goalkeeping coach.Nepal, Maldives and India also have foreign coaches preparing them for the SAFF Cup.