Sports Correspondent – The News
KARACHI: Former secretary of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Col Mujahid on Wednesday endorsed the decision of national team’s Bahraini coach Mohammed Shamlan to stick to home-grown players.
“I think Shamlan is doing the right thing by sticking to home-grown players because foreign-based players will also not be able to make any difference as we have already experimented with them,” he told ‘The News’ from Lahore.
However, he was quick to add if a couple of good foreign-based players are kept with the team it would be helpful.
Shamlan, the former Bahraini defender, has decided to focus only on home-grown players and since taking charge as coach of the Pakistan team last year he has not used any foreign-based player in his side on any foreign tour.
“We direly need a goalkeeper and a deep defender and if there are any better ones among the foreign-based players they could be used in the squad. But using too many ordinary foreign-based players in the side will be disastrous for our football,” he pointed out.
About Denmark-based goalie Yousuf Butt, Mujahid said: “I think, he is not an extra-ordinary talent.”
Both Yousuf and his brother Yaqoob have already played for Pakistan.
Besides these two, other foreign-based players who have recently played for Pakistan include the experienced defender Zesh Rehman, Mohammad Ali, Hasan Bashir, Shabbir Khan, Atif Bashir and Adnan Ahmed.
Mujahid said that last year he had told Shamlan to hold a camp for goalkeepers.
“Six months ago I had told Shamlan that his goalkeeping department is weak and he should hold a specific camp for the glovemen and I think now he has put eight goalies in the camp which is a right thing,” he said.
To a query Mujahid said that goalie Muzammil Hussain of WAPDA was a good choice for the national team.
“Muzammil has the talent but he is ignored due to his attitude problem as according to the management he does not take interest in training. If the management handles him in a polite way he could be controlled,” he said.
However, he was not happy with the way the national team was delivering at international level.
“The team is not clicking. It needs a lot of international exposure. Our league structure is defective and the only way to improve the quality of the players is to give them more international matches,” he said.
He was happy that Pakistan’s star players Kaleemullah and Mohammad Adil got a chance to play in the Kyrgyzstan league for Dordoi Bishkek.
“I think, both the players will learn a lot which will also help Pakistan in future. There is dire need to accommodate few more players in foreign leagues,” he concluded.