Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
LAHORE: Former Pakistan coach Zavisa Milosavljevic has agreed to become the coaching consultant for the national U19 team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U19 Championships that will begin from October 8 in Iraq.
Milosavljevic will advise U19 coach Nasir Ismail during the preparations for the event, where the team will compete in Group C against Iraq, Kuwait and Bangladesh.
Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi confirmed the agreement with the Serbian.
“Zavisa signed a contract with us for two years and his contract will expire in November, so we asked him become an adviser for the U19 team coach,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune.
Milosavljevic was released from his duty as the national team’s head coach in August when Pakistan lost to Afghanistan 3-0 in a friendly match.
Bahrain’s Mohamed Shamlan replaced him just two weeks before Pakistan’s participation in the South Asian Football Federation Championship that took place in Nepal last month.
Milosavljevic stayed despite the dismissal to complete his contract that expires on November 5.
In last week’s AFC U16 Championship qualifiers in Lahore, he was an eager spectator and followed every fixture of the five-day event.
“Zavisa has also remained a juniors’ coach and he is very good with the youth teams,” said Lodhi. “It is his expertise and he will advise Ismail till November.”
‘U19s will draw inspiration from the young lot’
Meanwhile, the U19 team is practising in Lahore with the coaches.
According to coach Ismail, the team is working hard and will take inspiration from the U16 side’s performances, which drew praise from Iran and the UAE officials as well.
“The PFF is fully supporting the teams and the coaches are working very hard with each player,” said Ismail. “Sajjad Mehmood is one of the best coaches we have and his U16 side has improved a lot. Everyone put a lot of effort in preparing for the event.
“The players need to improve on their scoring skills. Had Munir Ahmed scored on the two opportunities he got in the UAE match in the U16 qualifiers, it would have been a different result. Iran defeated the UAE 3-0 in the last match but they only scored two goals against us, so I believe Pakistan did a good job and we will try to go one step further.”
He also wished that his team would utilise every opportunity to score in the AFC U19 Championship qualifiers next month. “The coaches do their best, but it is up to the players to score in the field.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2013.