Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: The newly-appointed coach Mohammed Shamlan of Bahrain will serve as an advisor while Shehzad Anwar will act as head of Pakistan football team during the next month’s SAFF Cup as the authorities have decided to release Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic following his team’s pathetic display against Afghanistan in Kabul on Tuesday.
The PFF has also decided to show the exit door to goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan and according to highly reliable sources no goalkeeping coach will be part of the country’s coaching staff when it will leave for Kathmandu on Friday (tomorrow).
The Pakistani goalkeeper Saqib Hanif completely failed to show any guts under the cage on Tuesday in Kabul, conceding three goals.
Shamlan, a highly seasoned tactician, landed in Lahore on Wednesday. The black-skinned former Bahraini footballer, who also served as deputy to Pakistan’s former Bahraini coach Salman Ahmed Sharida, has strong credentials as a coach and is a Pro-License holder.
Recently he served as an assistant coach to Bahrain’s Argentinean coach Gabriel Humberto Calderon, who led Bahrain to a strong fourth-placed finish in the Gulf Cup.
After Calderon refused last month to continue as Bahrain’s coach after the expiry of his contract, Bahrain football teams board recommended to the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) that Shamlan be appointed as head coach of the Bahrain national team but the BFA said that they would like to have another foreigner for the head coach job while Shamlan will act as his assistant.
But fate had stored something different for Shamlan as in the end of last month he was appointed as Pakistan coach. Pakistan have got the services of Shamlan for two years and he will be paid by the BFA. It was made possible because of the strong relationship between PFF President Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat and BFA chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who also happens to be the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The SAFF Cup will be held in Nepal’s capital from September 1-11. After the slots, it will be decided where Shamlan’s services are required because the PFF is also interested in his services for the junior lots.
The PFF has already appointed Nasir Ismail as head coach of the Pakistan Under-19 team for the AFC Under-19 Championship Qualifiers to be held in Iraq in October, but Shamlan is also expected to accompany that squad.
It will be a great challenge for Shamlan to put the struggling Pakistan team on the right path. Sharida did a remarkable job during his stint as Pakistan coach in 2005-2006 as under his coaching Pakistan not only won gold in the 2006 South Asian Games but his charges also did a fine job in the 2006 Asian Games where the Greenshirts had put the heavyweights like Japan, North Korea and Syria in great trouble.
It will be the first major assignment for the AFC License A holder Shehzad Anwar as head coach, who acted as Pakistan’s head coach for a match against Malaysia in October 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.
Sources said that the PFF has not yet intimated Pakistan’s outgoing coach Zavisa Milosavljevic about its decision to release him. It will let him know after the team’s arrival today. His two-year contract was about to expire in the first week of November.
The PFF chief is expected to meet the players when they return from Kabul on Thursday (today) to discuss what happened in Kabul.
Zavisa had replaced Tariq Lutfi on November 5, 2011. Under his coaching Pakistan failed to click in three crucial international events during the last couple of years.