Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: A renowned Bahraini tactician Mohammed Shamlan has been appointed as Pakistan football team coach, a popular website working on coaches has revealed.
The Bahraini, who is a Pro-License holder, will succeed Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic who is to be released after his two-year contract with the PFF expires in November.
However, the PFF did not confirm Shamlan’s appointment.
“We had talked to Bahrain for a coach and it is not yet confirmed what has been done,” PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi told this correspondent on Thursday.
“I did try to communicate with the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) top official today to learn from him about the matter but he had gone abroad,” said Lodhi.
“If the news is right then it would be very good for us as we needed a coach,” said Lodhi.
When asked whether Bahrain would pay to Shamlan or the PFF, Lodhi again said, “It is not confirmed.”
“If the coach comes for free we would like to have him for a long time. Otherwise it will be a problem for us to keep him for a long period because of financial constraints,” said Lodhi.
Sources said that Lodhi during his visit to Bahrain last month had met with the former Pakistan coach Salman Sharida and Shamlan and the latter was most interested in Pakistan’s coaching job.
Sources close to Sharida said that Bahrain national team’s former coach had high demand and was not willing to work as Pakistan coach again. Sharida these days is acting as a TV commentator.
Shamlan recently served with the Bahrain’s Argentinean coach Gabriel Cauldron, who is said to have refused to renew his contract with the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) that expired last month.
Calderon did a good job with Bahrain by inspiring the kingdom’s side to a fine performance in this year’s 21st Gulf Cup in Bahrain as the Bahrainis finished a solid fourth in the prestigious competition.
After Calderon’s decision to quit, Bahrain’s national teams committee recommended to the board that Shamlan be given the opportunity considering his experience and capabilities and following his fine work as an assistant to the now departed Calderon.
But the board was interested in another foreigner as their head coach.
Currently, Pakistan team is undergoing training for the next month’s SAFF Cup under Zavisa Milosavljevic at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore.
This will be the last assignment of the Serbian who has been serving as Pakistan coach since November 5, 2011.
SAFF Cup will be a real challenge for Zavisa as despite his intention to quit by November he will try his best to end his stint as Pakistan coach on a winning note.
Despite ample international exposure given by the PFF to his charges Pakistan failed to click in the 2011 SAFF Cup in India and then in the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan.
His rookies also flopped miserably in the Under-22 Asian Championship Qualifiers in Saudi Arabia last year.
If hired, Shamlan will be the head coach of Pakistan when they meet United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their one-off FIFA friendly in Dubai on September 21.