By Alam Zeb Safi,
KARACHI: Mohammad Shamlan on Thursday announced that he had quit as Pakistan football team coach after the expiry of his contract and signed a one-year deal with Bahrain’s Riffa Sports Club.
“Yes, I have quit as Pakistan coach. I have come here on a short trip to meet the PFF officials and say goodbye to the country which has loved me during my two-year tenure as Pakistan’s coach,” Shamlan told ‘The News’ in a detailed chat from Lahore.
He will leave for Bahrain on Friday (today) to begin his new stint with the decades-old Riffa Sports Club.
“I may not have produced good results but certainly the things settled down to certain extent as not only the losing margin was considerably reduced but our young side also won series against India in India and also defeated Afghanistan,” Shamlan, who also worked as Director Technical, said.
He said his side also gave tough time to strong teams like North Korea and China in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
“Despite poor preparation due to various reasons we defeated Kyrgyzstan 3-1 in our last game in the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Al-Ain this year,” the coach said.
“I put the team on a proper track and was slowly improving. And you know for proper development you need more time,” said Shamlan, who had replaced Serbia’s Zavisa Milosavljevic a couple of years back.
He claimed that he had contributed a lot to Pakistan’s football during his short tenure. “When I joined as Pakistan’s coach there were only two License A coaches but now there are 20 and one is doing his pro license,” Shamlan said.
“In order to enhance the standard of goalkeeping coaches we sent five to Bahrain for License B. In November Zahid Taj and Asghar will also do their License A courses in Bahrain,” said Shamlan.
He said he would continue to help Pakistani players in their bids to sign professional contracts in Gulf countries, particularly Bahrain.
“I helped defender Mohammad Ahmed sign a contract with Bahrain’s club Isa Town FC last year. Now I have managed a contract for Saddam Hussain with the same club. Saddam will come to Bahrain after a couple of weeks to sign the deal,” Shamlan revealed.
“Denmark-based Hasan Bashir is a good player and I will try to help him play in Gulf in near future. I would also like to see Zeeshan Rehman play in Gulf. Pakistan have a lot of potential and they should keep on investing in football. A huge amount is needed to bring improvement in the standard of the game,” the coach said.
He was full of praise for the PFF and his support staff for the way they all dealt with him during his stay.
“I am thankful to Faisal Saleh Hayat, Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi and Pervez Saeed Mir for meeting all my demands. I am also thankful to Hasan Baloch, Asghar, Zahid Taj, Tanvir and Sajjad. I am thankful to all the players who supported me,” Shamlan said.
“I will never forget Pakistan. I will keep coming to Pakistan as a visitor if not as a coach,” Shamlan said.
Under the coaching of Shamlan, Pakistan ended third in the three-team Philippines Peace Cup, as they beat Chinese Taipei 1-0 on October 13, 2013, but lost to hosts Philippines 1-3 in Manila on October 15.
Pakistan lost to Lebanon 3-1 in Beirut in February 2014. Shamlan was stopped by Israel in Jordon, so he could not coach his side that featured in the Al-Nakba International Football tournament in Palestine in May 2014.
Pakistan faced a 4-0 drubbing against Indonesia in a friendly in June 2014 in Indonesia.
In August 2014 Pakistan beat India 2-0 after losing to the hosts 1-0 in their opener in Bangalore in August 2014 to clinch the two-match series on better goal-average.
In 2014 Incheon Asian Games Pakistan lost to North Korea 2-0 and China 1-0 in their Group F games in September.
In February 2015 Pakistan beat Afghanistan 2-1 in Lahore. In qualifiers for 2018 World Cup, Pakistan lost to Yemen 3-1 in Doha on March 12 before holding the same side to a goalless draw in the second leg.
In the qualifiers for 2016 AFC Under-23 Championship Group B in Al-Ain in March 2015, Pakistan lost to Jordon 5-0 and Kuwait 2-0, but managed to beat Kyrgyzstan 3-1 to finish third in the four-team group after Turkmenistan pulled out of the event.