By Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor, Islamabad
The Pakistan National Women’s Team is currently undergoing extensive training in Islamabad for the upcoming SAFF Women’s Championship and head coach Tariq Lutfi talks to FootballPakistan.com on his plans to construct a solid side.
Though, the Women’s National Team hasn’t had a lot of international exposure, their progress has been steady since the introduction of the Women’s game in 2005 and currently, Pakistan does boast some quality players in their ranks as they look to capitalize on the Islamabad-hosted 2014 SAFF Championship in November.
“The camp is for the SAFF Championship and will run till November in Islamabad,” said coach Tariq Lutfi, who has also coached the Men’s Team in the past.
Though the KRL boss is used to working with high-end training session, he is currently working to spruce up the girls’ skills on the ball, so that they get their basics right.
“For girls, the focus of preliminary sessions is different. We have to work on basics first; how to create space and pass under pressure etc. We will then move onto high-intensity training, but that makes it difficult to work on technical aspects, so our attention isn’t on that at the moment,” he claimed.
Lutfi was also confident of getting a couple of international friendlies for the girls abroad in time for the tournament, something which is key to success in Pakistan as footballers don’t get enough minutes on the big stage.
“We are looking to get friendlies in Qatar and Bahrain before the event starts,” he added.
Women’s Football needs attention from the government – PFF Women’s Chief Rubina Irfan
Senator Rubina Irfan, who is also the head of the PFF’s Women Wing, also cast her views on the incumbent situation in Pakistani football and claimed that the government is not doing enough to help promote the game, whilst showcasing an indifferent attitude towards the efforts of the PFF.
“The Government should include Women’s Football in the Asian Games. I have raised this question to IPC Chairman Riaz Pirzada on the floor of the house as well. Why is there so much discrimination when it comes to football?”
She also added that the current funding through which the PFF functions is from AFC and FIFA, while the government only pays 1.5 million PKR per year and expects the Federation to work on football with that meager amount.
“1.5 million PKR per annum is not enough to sustain Pakistani football for male and females. If we get funding from other sources, that is different and because of our own efforts in the Federation. What is the country doing for football? It is a very petty mindset. The sports budgets in Pakistan are shoestring and in the Asian Games, the PFF had to finance the team themselves,” the senator was quoted as saying.