Zavisa hits back at Tariq Lutfi [The News]

Alam Zeb Safi – The News

KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s outgoing coach Zavisa Milosavljevic on Wednesday blasted the country’s former coach Tariq Lutfi for terming him a defensive coach.

“I have never opted for any defensive strategy. The 4-4-2 formation I opted for was not a defensive one and we also did not play defensively in Kabul,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ from Lahore.

“The 4-4-2 system is the basic while its sub-systems are defensive 4-5-1 and offensive and we also call it 4-3-3 and 4-2-4 . . . and you can switch over to them according to the situation in the game,” said the Serbian.

Tariq was critical of Zavisa and never desisted from terming the foreigner as a defensive coach.

After Zavisa’s brigade lost to Afghanistan 3-0 in a friendly on August 20 in Kabul, Tariq was the only person who harshly criticised Zavisa.

The Serbian said that Tariq was the most defensive of coaches. “You know under Tariq in 2011 Pakistan played nine matches and out of them they won just a single one, drew three and lost five and his success ratio was only 28 percent,” Zavisa said.

“During George Kottan in 2009 and 2010 Pakistan played six matches and out of them they won two, three were drawn and lost one and the success ratio was 58 percent,” he said.

“During my coaching Pakistan played 12 matches and out of them they won three, drew four and lost five and my success ratio was 42 percent,” he said.

He criticised Pakistan-based coaches, especially Tariq, for having failed to produce the kind of players who could meet international standards. “You know KRL have ten players in the national team but they are not good enough to meet international standards. So who is responsible?” asked Zavisa while hinting at Tariq.

He said that he did his best to put Pakistan on the right track. “You know I did my best during my stay here and everything was going well. When I took charge as Pakistan’ coach Pakistan’s ranking was 176 but now its ranking is 167. And in April this year Pakistan improved 23 places and was the top country in Asia in terms of scoring more points,” said Zavisa.

He said unless Pakistani coaches did their job Pakistan football would not improve. “Pakistan football needs a lot of care, especially at the club level. It is the responsibility of the Pakistani coaches to polish their players at the domestic level. Otherwise no improvement will be made. National team coach has to make super training and not the basic one which is the duty of the coaches working in different clubs,” Zavisa pointed out.

Zavisa and goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan were surprisingly sacked after Pakistan lost their friendly against Afghanistan in Kabul.

The authorities opted to put the responsibility of coaching on the young shoulders of Shehzad Anwar, while newly appointed coach of Bahrain Mohammed Shamlan was sent to Nepal with the team as a consultant.

Pakistan are to appear in the SAFF Cup starting in Kathmandu from September 1.

India, Nepal and Bangladesh are in Pakistan’s group.

Pakistan have never won the event. This is the first time that Shehzad Anwar will be acting as Pakistan coach in a major event.

In October 2008 he coached Pakistan for a match against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, which Pakistan lost 4-1.

Zavisa did not say anything about his future plan. “I cannot say anything about that,” he said.