By Natasha Raheel – Express Tribune
KARACHI: Until a few months ago, Preki Radosavljevic did not know much about Pakistan. Today, the former American national player and current Sacramento Republic FC coach believes that the country should be proud of its footballing talent.
The Serbian-American is struck by the enthusiasm and dedication of Kaleemullah, the captain of Pakistan’s national team who is on a four-month stint at Sacramento.
Preki believes that Kaleemuallah can go far. “I didn’t know much about Pakistan, but I’m always open-minded when it comes to a player’s talent,” Preki, who has played in England with Everton and also started the Major League Soccer in US as one of the original players in the tournament, told The Express Tribune. “It doesn’t matter where the players come from, only their will to work hard matters.”
According to Preki, he was genuinely keen on seeing Kaleemullah’s game improve. “Kaleemullah is young and has great experience,” said Preki, referring to the Chaman-based striker’s successful seasons with Pakistan club KRL and Kyrgyzstan club FC Dordoi. “He works hard, and I want to have players in my team who are hard-workers. My team needs to have the edge and that’s what we do, we push the players to do their best.”
Preki suggested that nations like Pakistan should focus on getting quality coaches, who can run leagues and promote players with potential and talent. “Hiring good coaches definitely requires good money, but that investment can make the difference.”
Preki hopes that the presence of Kaleemullah can boost Pakistan’s interest in his club. “I think Pakistanis should be proud of Kaleemullah, and at the same time also hope that the club has found some following in Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2015.