KARACHI: Former Pakistan football coach Zavisa Milosavljevic of Serbia on Wednesday supported the inclusion of foreign-based players, saying if Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) wanted to develop its football it would have to play with all the best available stuff.
“Of course, if the PFF wants to develop football and progress at the FIFA rankings, it must always play with the best team. It means to call all the best players of Pakistani origin worldwide,” Zavisa told ‘The News’ in an interview from Kyrgyzstan.
Under his coaching, Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan won another league title last week.
Pakistan’s Kaleemullah, Mohammad Adil and Saddam Hussain play for the club.
After Zavisa was removed last year as Pakistan’s football coach, former international defender Mohammed Shamlan of Bahrain replaced him.
Zavisa used to play key foreign-based players in the side, but Shamlan has chosen only the home-grown players.
Zavisa said Pakistan badly needed qualified coaches. “The problem in Pakistan is the small number of educated coaches. Imagine a hospital without doctors. For example, Serbia has seven million people and over 100 coaches with Pro-License, while Pakistan has 200 million people and no coach with a Pro-License,” Zavisa pointed out.
“Working on youth categories in clubs and system of selection and competitions is not organised. It is the base from which come the senior players. Players start their training quite late and that is why they cannot meet the demands of modern football in terms of psycho-physical, technical and tactical development,” the coach said.
He also emphasised the need of having a Director Technical at the youth level. “The PFF has no full-time Director Technical for junior categories, who could make, implement and control programmes for the professional work of coaches and instructors to produce young players,” Zavisa said.
He said that the timing of his removal as Pakistan’s coach was wrong. “Of course, the coaching staff and the team had done a great job. I managed to select the backbone of the team, good combination of players from the domestic and foreign leagues. And when the team was on the path of development, I was removed. PFF did not understand the stages of creating a strong national team,” he said.
Zavisa strongly criticised PFF’s chief Faisal Saleh Hayat. “The extreme ego of the PFF’s president does not allow anyone to rise above him. He has no football knowledge and blames coaches for the poor results. He cleverly avoids taking responsibility for poor organisation and poor performance of Pakistan’s football in general,” Zavisa remarked.
“When PFF removed me after the match against Afghanistan, the president’s ego also came to full expression.
“Before the game, he called me but I refused to talk to him. I was on the ground and the team was warming up. Immediately after the game, I was informed that I was no longer Pakistan’s head coach,” said Zavisa.
“We all know that we played that game without foreign players. And the same team with them played very well in SAFF Cup in Nepal. Unfortunately, our hard work was wasted by the PFF and did not let us win SAFF Cup,” Zavisa said.
He said that Pakistan needed to model its league on the pattern of the developed countries. “The Pakistan Premier League should be modeled on the pattern of developed countries. They need to play two half seasons with summer and winter breaks,” he suggested.
He said the PPFL had several flaws. “The PPFL is played in only 3-4 months in a year. The PFF’s aim is to meet the form on the paper without caring for quality and development. Coaches in tough competitions’ schedule do not have enough time to properly prepare the players for the match. And what is worse is that players cannot take a break between the games. It causes physical and psychological fatigue, injuries and poor quality of game,” Zavisa said.
He also termed the infrastructure the PFF has at its disposal insufficient. “The PFF’s infrastructure does not meet the criteria of modern football. I am primarily referring to the quality of the playing fields and stadiums,” he said.
Asked whether Pakistan could become a football power, he said: “I am not optimistic.”
Zavisa said that he could be expected to induct more Pakistani players in Dordoi FC. “Every player from Pakistan who can meet the high standard of Dordoi FC can expect my call,” Zavisa said.