From our correspondent
FPDC Chief Editor Ali Ahsan and editor Gauhar Mahmood Azeem caught up with newly appointed Pakistan national team coach Mr Umer Farooq Tariq Lutfi (PIA) at PFF Football House in Lahore on 16th January 2011.
In a very candid discussion with the FPDC team, Tariq Lutfi expressed immense gratitude towards PFF in being called-up once again to lead the Pakistan team as head coach after resigning from his post back in late 2005. The 59 year old legendary PIA player, coach, and manager has been involved in the coaching structure of the national team for well over 3 decades, and is also the only Pakistani to be a FIFA-qualified coaching instructor.
Tariq Lutfi is often considered the ‘Father figure of Pakistani football’ given his seniority, experience, history, and dedication to the game in Pakistan for last many generations. Tariq Lutfi’s sides won two South Asian Games gold medals when he was coach/manager as well as the Pak-India Friendly Series in 2005. He was also part of the dominant PIA football side who won a record total of 9 national championships from 1970s till 1990s.
Tariq Lutfi will take charge of national team camp for all 2011 assignments, including the up-coming Olympic qualifiers against Malaysia (23rd Feb and 9th March) as well as the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in late March 2011.
Tariq Lutfi was also head coach of the women’s team in the recently concluded inaugural SAFF Women Championship that defied all odds to reach the semi-finals of the competition held at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Ali Ahsan adds that Tariq Lutfi’s return to the national team coaching spot has brought in unprecedented praise and appreciation from many football people across Pakistan.
Veteran football journalist Riaz Ahmed from Karachi expressed great delight in Tariq Lutfi’s return to the national side and appreciated his acceptance of the offer to coach Pakistan once again by PFF President Faisal Saleh Hayat.
Former PFF Director Competitions, ex-Wohaib FC player, and AFC C-License coach Faisal Amir Khan also expressed joy and happiness on Tariq Lutfi’s return to the Pakistan team coaching set up.