Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Pakistan national team striker Saadullah, who returned from a month-and-a-half stint at BG Sports FC in Maldives to prepare for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship, believes that the domestic structure in Pakistan needs massive improvements with special emphasis on the standard of coaching in the country.
The 22-year-old from Pishin, who is quite optimistic about the national side’s chances in the AFC Championship, said that if the domestic coaches were at the same level as the national coaches, Pakistan would start making a significant impact in the international circuit.
“I feel that Pakistan can thrive internationally if our clubs begin coaching on the same standards as the national side,” Saadullah told The Express Tribune. “Although we are the weakest team ranking-wise, I think we can finish among the top two sides as the players and the coaches have worked really hard.”
Former national coach and the man behind KRL’s success in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), Tariq Lutfi, seconded Saadullah’s statement and said that in Pakistan, the general attitude of coaching and management at the club level is not professional enough to get the best out of the players.
“The availability of professional and qualified coaches in the PPFL is an issue,” said Lutfi. “We don’t have the mentality [to push forward] and usually the coaches overlook the strategy and they do not have a methodology either.”
Meanwhile, Saad, who scored one goal for BG Sports FC in two games played, believes that his stint in Maldives has helped him develop as a player and hopes to assist the national side with his experience.
“I feel that I understand the game better now because I’ve played with Brazilians, Nigerians and Spanish players,” said Saad. “I hope that I can contribute positively to the national side and assist others with my experience.”
Saadullah is on a break for a few weeks and will join the Malaysian club on May 25, after Pakistan’s campaign at the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Al-Ain against Jordan, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan.