Alam Zeb Safi – The News
KARACHI: In a bid to protect their rights, Pakistan football coaches feel that they should have their own association.
“It is extremely important to have our own association,” former Pakistan coach Shehzad Anwar told ‘The News’ from Sargodha on Monday.
“If such an association is formed, it will help to protect the basic rights of coaches in Pakistan who have been facing various problems,” said Shehzad, who is doing his Pro-Licence course.
“The association may also play a positive role in educating its coaches by holding symposiums, financing their members during their coaching courses and in other such projects of professional importance,” he said.
Meanwhile former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail also gave his thumbs up to the idea.
“Such associations are there all over the world. We also need such a platform provided the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) owns it,” he said.
“In the presence of coaches association, coaches would not be meted out step-motherly treatment by any one and any organisation would not be able to sack them unceremoniously without any valid reason.”
There are several examples in Pakistan football when coaches were sacked unceremoniously in the past. Those who faced the axe include Bashir Ahmed, Akhtar Mohiuddin, Aslam Khan, Hasan Baloch and Sajjad Mehmood and Pakistan’s Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic, who was sacked by the PFF just hours after his team lost to Afghanistan 3-0 in in Kabul last August.
Zavisa was the staunchest advocate of a coaches’ association. According to sources during his stay in Pakistan he used to discuss with his friends the importance of such a body.
In Pakistan coaches are not protected. They are not treated fairly by the PFF or their departments.
Former Pakistan coach Tariq Lutfi said there is a need of such a body. “Definitely, there is a need of such an association. If it makes a solid charter of its own and frames such rules and regulations which could in real sense protect the rights of the coaches then it is extremely important,” he said.
However, he feared that in the presence of too much politics in the ranks of coaches, it may not work effectively.
“I don’t see that any such platform would be formed which could work impressively. There are no such strong ties of respect between the junior and senior coaches and the internal politics may be an impediment in the way of the association which should rather act as a binding force and the voice of all the coaches.”
Former PFF Director Youth Development and Grassroots, Siddique Sheikh, also supported the idea.
“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has told all its member associations that they should have their coaches associations,” Sheikh said.
“A foreign coach is given $10,000 per month while our home-grown coaches are handed nothing for their services except minor benefits. So who will raise voice for them? It is the association who will rush for the protection of the rights of their members. And I think it is very important to have it,” said Sheikh.
Former Pakistan coach Akhtar Mohiuddin said it would be a good option if it is selflessly run.
“I think it is successful in foreign countries but here we will need honest people to run it,” he said. KRL assistant coach Sajjad Mehmood and Aslam Khan also endorsed the idea.
PFF secretary Col Ahmed Yar Lodhi said the federation would support it if it was formed for the betterment of the game and coaches.
“It would be a good move and we would support it if it works positively,” he said.
“The experience with the referees association is not that much good. But I think coaches are bitterly educated and I expect they will do well.”