Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s camp began at Lahore on Thursday under Bahraini coach Mohammed Shamlan.
The camp is aimed at maintenance and rehabilitation of the players and to prepare them for future assignments.
“Yes, the camp started today,” Shamlan told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Thursday. “Forty-four players have been invited; out of them 39 have joined us while the rest will join soon as most of them are facing injuries. There will be no training session in the morning tomorrow because of Friday. In the evening we will hold a session.
“We are trying to test and guide the players from every angle. Their maintenance and rehabilitation is also one of the purposes of the camp. There is a need of improving the mental strength of the players besides working on them both technically and tactically. They will also be taught how to shape their personalities and how to deal with their teammates and coaches both on and off the pitch,” the 44-year-old Shamlan said.
“I hope that the youngsters, mostly under-20, will learn a lot and will be educated from every angle,” said Shamlan, a former international defender.
He said that he would like to hold a few matches by forming two teams from the pool. “The matches will help the players learn how to play under a proper system,” said Shamlan.
The basic purpose of the camp is to form a fighting lot for the next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-22 Championship Qualifiers to be held in June-July. This is a short training camp, which will last till December 22. The Premier League has been halted for it.
Shamlan plans to hold a proper camp for the next year’s Under-22 Championship Qualifiers after the league.
“Yes, after the league, proper work on the players will be started. I plan to hold the camp for the qualifiers immediately after the league. And efforts will also be made to send the team to Gulf countries for training,” he said.
Shamlan, who was hired by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in August for two years, is a Pro- Licence coach.
Before joining Pakistan, he had been working with the Bahrain national team as an assistant coach.
Shamlan acted as an advisor with the Pakistan team during the SAFF Cup in Nepal in early September. Shehzad Anwar was given the charge of head coach by the authorities after the Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic was dramatically removed following Pakistan’s loss to Afghanistan 3-0 in a friendly in Kabul on August 20.
After the SAFF Cup, Shamlan’s first assignment as Pakistan’s head coach was the Peace Cup in Philippines in mid-October where Pakistan beat Chinese Taipei in their first game before losing against Philippines with 1-3 margin.
Shamlan is mostly interested in youngsters because according to him they could be moulded properly. “I need youngsters because if we are able to train and groom them, they will help Pakistan in future,” he said.