Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: Former Pakistan coach Akhtar Mohiuddin said on Friday that Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) should reconsider the decision to sack Zavisa Milosavljevic and send him to Nepal for the SAFF Cup, which starts from September 1.
“Removing Zavisa at this stage when the SAFF Cup is just a few days away is completely wrong. It is not right to sack a coach after one poor performance in a friendly. It would be better to send him to Nepal or the team would miss him badly during the competitions,” Akhtar told ‘The News’ in an interview from Quetta.
“In practice matches ahead of any major event, a coach tests his combination, conditioning, technical and tactical aspects of his brigade and then makes changes accordingly. Players don’t focus on such matches. Sacking a coach over failure in a friendly is not understandable,” said Akhtar.
He said even after Zavisa’s removal the result in the SAFF Cup would be attributed to the Serbian. “The whole chemistry of the current Pakistan team has been prepared by Zavisa during his two-year stint. If Pakistan perform well in the SAFF Cup in his absence the credit will still go to him,” Akhtar pointed out.
He said Zavisa had claimed that his charges would click in the SAFF Cup and so he should have been given a chance.
Akhtar said there was great difference between Zavisa and young Shehzad Anwar. “You cannot compare Zavisa with Shehzad as there is great difference between their thinking patterns. Zavisa has a lot of experience while Shehzad is young.”
He criticised the PFF for lacking in broadmindedness. “The PFF is not broadminded. When six years ago we were thrashed by the then Asian champions Iraq 7-0 in home leg of the World Cup Qualifiers the PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar told me that we should not go to Syria for the second leg as we could face even worse result at their home conditions. But I told them that the result in the away leg would be much different and we created history when we held the tough rivals to a goalless draw by making some vital changes in the team,” Akhtar reminisced.
“I don’t know why there is such a lack of trust in coaches. You should not have hired Zavisa’s services in the first place. But when you did then you should give him ample chance,” Akhtar said.
“It is not easy to improve the basics of a team. It needs a minimum of four years,” he said.
He said unless the approach was changed Pakistan would always suffer like Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabian authorities pay heavily to their coach but if he fails to click in a tournament he is removed. And now you see Saudi Arabia did not even reach the top ten in the World Cup Qualifiers in their group. The same will happen to Pakistan if the authorities do not change their approach,” he said.
He warned that no foreign coach would like to serve Pakistan again if the PFF did not stop taking hasty decisions.