Shahzad wants ‘free hand’ as PFF’s technical director [Dawn]

Shahzad wants ‘free hand’ as PFF’s technical director [Dawn]

By Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: Former Pakistan caretaker coach Shahzad Anwar said he wants to work “with a free hand” after he was named the new Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) technical director on Monday.

Shahzad, who is about to complete his FIFA Pro License, agreed to take over the post although he will officially start work in his new job from October this year replacing Bahrain’s Mohammed Al Shamlan who is also Pakistan’s head-coach.

“I have to complete the last stage of my Pro License course in the coming months and after that I will take over as the PFF technical director,” Shahzad told Dawn after meeting the PFF officials on Monday.

In the final stage, Shahzad is hoping first to do a four-week attachment with a European club before completing his final course which lasts 14 days.

“I’m hoping to get an attachment with a European club because that will help me learn further as clubs there have the highest standard of football,” Shahzad, who led Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to the National Challenge Cup title last year, said.

“There are a few options that have been put forward to me by the PFF in Germany while some friends of mine are trying to arrange for an attachment in England.

“A minimum attachment is of four weeks and can be done during pre-season so I have from July to August to do that. After that, I will go for the coursework in September which will also hopefully be in either England or Germany.”

Shamlan was appointed technical director in October 2013, a move which came after world’s football governing body made it mandatory for all of its members to have a technical director or risk losing its Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) funds.

FIFA rules also stipulate that the technical director must boast technical qualifications recognised by the local association and the continental federation but Shamlan’s appointment as technical director came under scrutiny when it was announced that a head coach cannot hold that role.

Shamlan is widely expected to leave his post in July when his contract expires with sources claiming he has already agreed a contract with Al-Riffa SC in his homeland.

Shahzad’s job will see him develop a plan to take Pakistan football forward although the national team faces four years without competitive football after crashing out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the first round.

The qualifiers for the FIFA showpiece were going to later on merge with the preliminaries for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup but Shahzad stresses it is time for Pakistan to “aim high” and said he wants the freedom to implement his own plans.

“This has been a ceremonial post for quite some time but I want to now work with a free hand,” Shahzad, who was interim coach of the Pakistan team during the 2013 SAFF Championship, said. “I have a plan to improve the situation of the game in the country and I’d like to implement that.

“We have to focus on coaches’ education, player development programmes and increase footballing activities both nationally and internationally. First, though, we need to establish a national philosophy.”