Monday , 19 February 2018
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FPDC exclusive article about why Pakistan football team desperately needs an ambitious manager to take the team forward off the pitch

Pak football team needs a proper Manager

By our correspondent

Having wrong person for the wrong job in Pakistan is quite a common occurrence and football is no different. Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) over the years has tried various people in the role of National Team Manager who works with the coaching staff in assuring the team is operating smoothly.

This appointment is of no significance while local coaches are in charge because there the coach will pick his preferred person for the role in the past relatives of certain PFF officials have accompanied the team trips abroad.

Irfan Niazi could be termed as successful the most successful manager with the team which made it to the second round of 2008 Olympic Qualifiers and had worked with the likes of Salman Sharida. However recently, PFF have given little importance to this role by adding additional charge to the likes of Nasir Ismail, Gohar Zaman AND Asghar Khan Anjum etc who were serving as assistant coaches.

But now with the appointment of Zaviša Milosavljević on a medium term of 2 years it is important he is provided with a manager who can handle his role professionally.

What should the manager be able to do one would ask other than handling media duties, team logistics and player registration? The job of the national team manager is much bigger than that and some countries in the region have demonstrated its importance.


The Azkals’ Story

Take Dan Palami for example of the Philippines, he picked up the team when it was struggling to attract crowds, TV coverage and sponsors, and low FIFA world rankings in the 180s. His job was to recruit players of Filipino origin worldwide, arrange for a fulltime National team coach, and attract sponsors, media coverage and the rest.

The Philippines team is now one of the rapidly improving teams in Asia with heavy contingent of overseas born Filipino players, foreign coaches for both senior and junior teams alongside. Palami has transformed the football in his country, helping in getting the biggest TV deal in Filipino football history, with increasing corporate sponsorship further improving the standard of football in the country.

The Azkals (Left) and their manager Dan Palami (Right)

As a result large crowds turning up to watch not only national team but also the country’s once-amateur United Football League, with players now earning ten folds more in local football leagues. The man has transformed the unknown ‘Azkals’ – meaning ‘street dogs’ – into national super stars.

Gohar Zaman is a former player and a licenced coach who can only deliver on the pitch and not off it, he cannot be expected to do anything what somebody like Dan Palami has done for his team. With growing contingent of overseas players, coach demanding training camps abroad and international friendly matches on regular basis and with PFF having no proper marketing director, the role of proper manager is at most important now. If Pakistan is to get the best out of the new coach then a new manager will play a key role in all this for matters off the pitch.

Another thing the current manager and the rest of PFF has failed to manage is to work with players and the foreign offices of certain countries like Denmark, Germany and Norway in making sure the players can represent Pakistan while retaining their original citizenship. PFF and the current manager have failed to resolve this, costing the Pakistan team crucial tournaments in 2011, while the Philippines enjoy players from Denmark and growing number of them from Germany.

The manager should be able to help recruit/scout players, negotiate with their clubs regarding releases for NT matches, manage team affairs, handle documentations, taking care of players concerns and paying them on time.

In addition to all this the manager will have to take on extra responsibility of arranging matches in line with FIFA/AFC International dates, acquire sponsor for national team, and improve relations with other national teams because these tasks are not being done by those in the office due to their lack of experience and knowledge of the area. The manager must hail from a managerial/executive background with knowledge of football, like some of the sports managers at various government departments or other private clubs.

The manager must also work to build a bridge between the senior and junior teams by ensuring that young talent is being looked after and on track with their development plan. The manager could work to bring in extra support through their international partners in developing players and coaches.

There is also need of a full time director of football, ideally a foreigner with experience of developing players from academy level who can come in and oversee football development (coaching youth teams), player and coach education alongside providing technical assistance to PFF in streamlining the domestic football set up. The manager would also act as the go-between for the national team coach and director of football while only being answerable to the President and Secretary General of PFF.


The Candidates?

PFF can get its own version of Dan Palami, somebody with managerial/executive background with experience in football management, somebody like Zabe Khan of KESC or Taha Alizai of Karachi United FC could do the job.

LtoR - Zabe Khan (KESC), Taha Alizai (KUFC), Irfan Niazi (IFA & PFF)

Zabe has transformed KESC into a powerhouse and the biggest spenders in Pakistani football; a far cry from being the lowest paying team in PPL 3 years ago and playing 2nd tier football of Pakistan just 5 years ago. Zabe was also instrumental in the organisation and success of the 2010 Geo Super Football League, which Karachi Energy triumphantly won.

Taha meanwhile, has worked tirelessly in developing a solid club like KUFC  with a good youth set up and now Karachi United Football Foundation working all over the city running and reaching out into poorer neighbourhoods to unearth new talent.

Taha has also worked to organise the Karachi Premier League (now renamed Karachi United Football League) which in recent years managed to get TV coverage and has regular sponsors; something the PFF has not managed. He also played key role in KASB acquiring the marketing rights of PPL back in 2009 – only for the deal to fall through barely a few months later over strong differences between KASB and PFF on its organisation.

These individuals bring corporate network which could be crucial for bringing in sponsors while understanding the needs of modern football.

Irfan Niazi can also do a good job giving his experience with the National Teams however its unlikely he can bring the corporate, management experience and vision that Taha or Zabe etc possess which Pakistan really need if it is to progress in the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup and towards the 2015 Asian Cup.

Whether PFF will take such a bold step remains to be seen but one this is sure, if they don’t it will only harm the team.

About Editorial Staff


  1. Zabe Khan and Taha Alizai have helped transform football in Karachi! Its time they got the chance to make a difference at a national level.

    PFF really needs to be visionary rather than be boring administrators!

  2. The points mentioned here are valid, but the fact remains that the PFF has a notorious history of not working on them.

  3. zabe khan needed due to his work and experience.

  4. Appreciate your article, and it would be a privilege to work on taking Pakistan football to new heights. However, I don’t see the PFF acting on it as they don’t have the vision required to move forward.

  5. i am a footballer of 15 years and i need a manager who will help me do my future please help me thank you………

  6. We truly appreciate you good words for Sir Dan Palami, truly he was the man that helped in lifting the level and awareness of Philippine Football. He can even be called the father of the modern football here in the Philippines, as far as I’m concerned.
    And we are also happy that other nation-associations see the efforts of the Azkals manager.
    Hoping that you can find someone that will definitely help lift up your football.

    • We hope our PFF can learn a thing or two from your PFF. We need a selfless die-hard like Dan Palami to take our team forward. Its been desperate for vision, innovation, good PR, and success.

  7. Hello all,
    The Philippines had notoriously corrupt and worthless leaders just about 2 years ago. As a matter of fact we had a tournament against Indonesia in the latter part of 2010 and instead of playing our home game in the Philippines, the idiot PFF president didnt try to refurbish our pitch at home and instead our “home” game was in Indonesia. The PFF President then thought the Indonesians were going to give part of the gate receipts but didnt after all.

    Dan Palami has used his own money to finance the team when no one knew about the Azkals’ except for a few diehards. Pakistan will have to find someone like him who has the passion and the monetary capability and most of all the love for the game. I almost forgot, Pakistan will have to find your PFF president who is in step with the national team manager(Dan P is the national team manager not the PFF Pres). Good luck to Pakistan football and I hope we see you on the pitch someday!

    PS Dan Palami owns a UFL team and sometimes suits up and plays in the league game(when they are comfortably ahead). He has also convinced some of our Spanish Filipino players to play their football in the Philippines! Thats what I call “love for the game”!

    • Streets Dogs and dogs eater were better than INDIA…but we shall hack u to nil next time u dog eaters..AZKALS!!!

  8. Thank you for featuring Philippines in your article. We truly inspired by Mr. Dan Palami who is very hardworking that made he Philippine National Football team making it recognized all over the world. Goodluck to Pakistan, I hope with the story of the Philippines struggles can make can a more success in your Football Team.

  9. azkals=street dogs meaning = no food , no home, nobody care, low class,
    thats the situation of football in PH before but bcuz of palami vrything has changed.
    … and remember DAVID ALABA of bayern munchen? he is a filipino too but sadly palami is too late to recruit him for play for PH yet we still proud of him :)

  10. Mr. Dan Palami is SUI GENERIS – truly one of a kind.

  11. asalam ailkum janab mera naam kashif hai. main azad kashmir pakistan main rahta hoon. sir main aap se live baat karna chahta hoon . laken kya karoon aap ka koi namer ya koi id be nahin ha. main aap se football ke bary main baat karna chahta hoon. sir azad kashmir main ladky bohat achy football khaal rahy hain . un ko moqa nahin mel sakta pakistan main ya pakistan ka naam roshan karny main hum be pakistan ke leye apny jaan ke bazi laga sakty hain . laken aaj taaq koi be hum logoon ke games dhakhny ke leye nahin aaya plz aap koch help karen plz plz sir

    mera name kashif jamil mobil namber ; 0345_5553035
    Allah hafiz

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