Looking abroad: National team director aims to send footballers to Brazil [Express Tribune]

Looking abroad: National team director aims to send footballers to Brazil [Express Tribune]

KARACHI: With football in the country having come to a complete standstill due to the infighting between Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) rival groups, national team’s director Shahzad Anwar is looking for ways to keep the players fit and in match practice.

Anwar plans on sending a few players and coaches to Brazil soon so that they can gain invaluable experience with different clubs at the South American footballing giant.

Anwar had himself worked in Brazil last year, and is also on his way to become the first coach from Pakistan to have an Asian Football Confederation pro license.

He believes the controversy surrounding PFF has pushed the players and coaches against the wall, despite a few national players being picked up by foreign clubs.

Shahzad Anwar in Brazil with Basit Ghafoor

“The aim is to have some of our players in Brazil, where they can at least gain experience,” Shahzad told The Express Tribune. “I haven’t finalised the names yet, but the idea is to allow the coaches and players to get some international exposure.”

And Shahzad knows the players’ livelihood is at stake. “A lot of time has been wasted, especially for the footballers,” he said. “No one will hire them if things continue in the same vein.”

The Sargodha-based coach spent three weeks in Brazil last year, where he observed the national Brazil U17 team and assisted training camps for prominent clubs such as Fluminense, Portuguesa FC and Audax FC.

Shahzad will be finalising the list of players and the coaches in the coming weeks and plans to start the programme before the end of this year.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2016.