KARACHI: Coach Zavisa Milosavljevic was so frustrated after Pakistan crashed out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan recently that he did not take any interest in the last inconsequential game against Macau.
Sources confided in ‘The News’ that it was assistant coach Shehzad Anwar who handled the team for the third match, which the Greenshirts won 2-0 eventually.
Sources said Zavisa had submitted his report to the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on Monday in which he had tried to defend himself. However, sources say there is no forceful point in his report and it is almost certain that he will be relieved of his job.
A well-informed source even claimed that Zavisa had already been sacked and he was returning to Serbia in a couple of days. But the PFF secretary Col Ahmad Yar Lodhi did not confirm this and said he would submit his report in two days. PFF would decide his fate after going through the report.
“We cannot fire an international coach in such an unceremonious way. The contract could be dissolved with three months advance notice,” said Lodhi. Some sources claim that after Pakistan were put out of the AFC Challenge Cup, Zavisa himself had decided to leave his job. “I think he has resigned,” said a source. Sources said that Zavisa was not happy with the behaviour of some of the officials of the PFF and he was not in a position to continue his job.
Sources said that ignoring skipper Jaffar Khan for the initial two vital outings against Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan was solely Zavisa’s decision. “Jaffar had developed a minor groin injury in Dubai but in spite of it he was committed to play in the first match. But the coach opted for the Denmark-based gloveman Yousuf Butt who served under the cage in both the initial meetings,” a source revealed.
Pakistan conceded the only goal against Tajikistan in the 89th minute, but against Kyrgyzstan they conceded the lone goal in the first minute due to Yasir Afridi’s blunder.
‘The News’ learnt that the weather in Kyrgyzstan was too chilly and the pitch was soft and heavy, which caused multiple problems for the Pakistani players. Zavisa’s charges had proceeded to Bishkek from Dubai just a day before their first vital meeting against Tajikistan.
The PFF chief Faisal Saleh Hayat had had a meeting with the team in Dubai and advised Zavisa to fully focus on his job. Faisal had told Zavisa that all his demands had been met and now it was up to him to steer the team to victory in the qualifiers, sources said.
On Sunday, Zavisa had told this correspondent that he would submit his report on Monday. But the Serbian was not available for comments on Monday despite repeated attempts by this correspondent.
Zavisa was handed over the reins of Pakistan team on November 5, 2011, when he replaced the home coach Tariq Lutfi.
However, he failed to lead his side to the semi-finals of the SAFF Cup in December the same year. He was also given charge of the under-22 team for the Asian Cup Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia in June-July last year. They failed too.
Sources said that the standard of foreign-based players was not better than the locally-grown boys. Particularly England-based midfielder Adnan Ahmed’s performance was extremely poor in Bishkek, they added.