By Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: National Bank’s experienced defender and the AFC License B coach Mehmood Khan has signed with a football club in Vietnam as a coach.
“I have been signed as a coach by a club in Vietnam and am going to join it,” Mehmood Khan told The News from the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on Tuesday night before flying for Vietnam.
The name of the club which he is joining could not be identified because of poor mobile communication network. “I am extremely happy that I have got a call from the club. My employers have sent to me visa and ticket also,” said the discarded international. “My contract is for nine months and I will take it as a challenge. At home, I had no proper opportunity of coaching and the task abroad will further cement my resolve to go a long way in the field of coaching,” said Mehmood, who is the product of the AFC Coaches Project 2008 batch.
‘The News’ learnt that during his coaching stint with the Vietnamese club, he will undergo a three-month probation period and if he manages to satisfy his employers, he will complete his contract. He has got a three-month leave from his parent department National Bank and if he completes his probation period successfully, he will have to apply for extension in his leave, sources in the National Bank said.
After successfully getting through the AFC License B course in Kuala Lumpur, Mehmood was sent by the continental body in 2010 to Spain where he attended the practice sessions of some of the leading clubs there.
Mehmood’s signing by a foreign club as a coach is a lesson for the PFF which dropped him from the AID-27 list apparently for no valid reasons. After he was sidelined, Mehmood started searching a niche abroad and set an example for his qualified colleagues who are not being given proper coaching opportunities in Pakistan.
Mehmood, who can speak English well enough, should have been put by the PFF on a coaching panel of any age-group team. He is the first AFC qualified coach from Pakistan to get a coaching assignment abroad.
In the past, Pakistan’s star striker Ali Nawaz Baloch served as a coach at club level in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
National Bank coach Nasir Ismail told The News that the coaching stint in Vietnam is a challenge for Mehmood. “I promoted Mehmood and motivated him to opt for coaching. The assignment in Vietnam is a challenge for him and if he succeeds in his mission it will be better for both National Bank and Pakistan,” said Nasir, also an assistant coach of Pakistan senior team.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa and prolific midfielder Adeel Ahmad are also undergoing training under the AFC Coaches Project, which is being run by former Pakistan coach George Kottan. International striker Safiullah was a batch-fellow of Mehmood at the coaching programmes.