Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Financial problems have forced former Pakistan football captain and renowned midfielder Ghulam Sarwar Senior to work with the Sindh Sports Board (SSB) as a coach on a meagre monthly salary.
“Yes, I have joined SSB as a coach ten to 15 days ago for only Rs7000 per month. It is too meagre an amount but a severe financial crisis have forced me to do so,” Sarwar told ‘The News’ here on Monday.
“I have been given an appointment letter but I don’t know what is the status of my contract,” the 60-year old Sarwar said.
“I was playing for PIA and got retired from there in 1998. And what I got from my department after retirement had been spent on my family. From PIA I was drawing a handsome salary but since retirement I have been receiving only Rs7000 per month as pension. I not only support my own family but am also looking after the families of my two brothers who have died and so it’s a big challenge when you don’t have any solid source of income,” Sarwar lamented.
“I have four sons but they are also jobless and that is why I face a lot of problem,” added Sarwar, who served Pakistan as captain from 1976 to 1978.
Sarwar is expecting a grant from the Sindh government which could help him to minimise his problems.
“The Sindh secretary sports has moved a summary to the Chief Minister and I hope for a good outcome.”
Sarwar is not the only ex-stalwart who is braving hard times.
Former greats like Captain Umar, Moosa Ghazi, Abdul Ghafoor Majna and Qadir Baloch have left the world after enduring similar hardship.
Former Pakistan captain Abid Ghazi is on death bed and also needs financial help but there is no one who can extend a helping hand to one of the greatest players of his age.
Sarwar, who resides in Lyari, made his international debut in 1969 and played for Pakistan till 1985. During his career, he visited with the Pakistan team to Iran, Turkey, Russia, Sri Lanka, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
When Sardar Daud was ruling Afghanistan in 1970s, Pakistan, under Sarwar, twice visited Kabul to feature in the Jashn-e-Kabul Invitational International Football tournament.
“Those were fine tours under a foreign coach. I don’t remember his exact name and origin. And in one of our tours we also beat India,” Sarwar recalled.
Sarwar said he was very impressed by his colleague and former Pakistan captain Ali Nawaz.
“Ali Nawaz was a great striker. I have not only played under him but we both also used to play for a Dubai club besides playing for PIA,” Sarwar recalled.
Sarwar knows football deeply and says the current Pakistan coaches are quite ill-equipped.
“I have seen our coaches and they are completely blank. A coaching certificate cannot make one a coach. I was also interested in doing coaching courses but due to politics I was not given any such chance,” he said.
To a query, Sarwar said that the minimum salary of a footballer should be Rs80,000 per month.
“I think footballers should be given good incentives. If they earn less, they will not be able to focus on the game. And a player also needs best nourishment and mental peace and I think our new generation lacks all these basic things and that impede their growth and development,” Sarwar concluded.