by Alam Zeb Safi
KARACHI: Pakistan’s only pro-license football coach Shehzad Anwar received a huge jolt when he was deprived of a golden opportunity to work with Qatar club champions Al-Sadd SC when Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee did not endorse the former PFF’s deal it had brokered with Qatar Football Association (QFA) regarding the matter last year.
The former Pakistan head coach and former PFF Director Technical Shehzad was to work for a couple of weeks with the Doha-based club’s under-23 team as per the club’s secondment programme from January 4.
The QFA deal with the former PFF regarding Shehzad’s matter had been brokered a few months ago when Faisal Saleh Hayat was the PFF chief.
The Normalisation Committee said in response to a letter written by QFA a few days ago that Shehzad was no more with the PFF, a source said.
“As previously discussed with you we hereby confirm Shehzad Anwar, football coach and manager from Pakistan, has been accepted to join Al-Sadd Club for two weeks on a secondment programme with the club youth teams,” Mansoor Mohammed Al-Ansari, Secretary General Qatar Football Association (QFA) had written to PFF NC’s Secretary General Haris Jamil Alam Khan on December 30.
“As previously explained over the phone the club has accepted Shehzad to join it for a duration of two weeks, beginning January 4, 2020. The QFA shall cover his local transportation and his local accommodation during his stay. The QFA shall be sending Shehzad’s flight ticket in due time as well as his valid visa to Qatar,” the letter said.
“We also take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to continue to further strengthen relations with the PFF and to further better the beautful game in Asia,” the letter added.
When this correspondent sought NC’s stance on the matter, its chairman Humza Khan said: “It is a confidential matter pertaining to an ex-PFF employee so I have no comments on this.”
When told that Shehzad was still available as a coach, Humza said, “I agree and I invited him to come to meet us to see if he’s interested in working with us but he was not.”
When this correspondent pointed out that such people were assets of the country, Humza said, “There are many assets of the state that have rotten over the last few years.
“What about their careers,” he was quick to add. “I think this is unfortunately one of the many problems football in Pakistan is facing and we are trying to resolve them but we can only work with people who are willing to work with the FIFA-recognised NC.”
When contacted by this correspondent, Shehzad said: “I don’t want to work with NC as Director Technical due to various reasons. But yes I am always available to serve as Pakistan’s team coach.”
Al-Sadd Club, being coached by former Spanish midfielder and 2010 FIFA World Cup winner Xavier Hernández Creus, recently featured in the FIFA Club World Cup finals in Doha. Al-Sadd finished their journey when they went down to Tunis’s champions club Esperance de Tunis on December 17 in the fifth place play-off at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
A source who was part of Faisal-led former PFF said that the first conversation with the QFA was made on March 3, 2019, and the QFA offered Shehzad to work with Al Duhail SC in June. But that was not availed because of FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The second conversation was held on August 22 and QFA offered him work in September. But Shehzad did not join the club due to his domestic engagements. Then on September 15 QFA was contacted and it offered January 2020 with Al Sadd SC.
The ex-PFF had requested QFA to give Shehzad an opportunity to work with its clubs as he was a pro-license coach and was completing his assignments.
Shehzad was Pakistan’s head coach in the 2013 SAFF Cup in Nepal. He served as Director Technical with the PFF until FIFA appointed the Normalisation Committee.
Sargodha-born Shehzad is the only pro in Pakistan. He worked on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Coach Education Panel for 2018-19. And the continental body appreciated his services. He was also member of the Coaches Education Panel of the Union of Sao Paulo State Soccer Coaches (SITREFESP) for 2016-17.