by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: In October 2019, the Atletico de Madrid Academy coach Daniel Limones was being precocious, warm, hopeful and mainly humbly ambitious about funding the best talent to compete at the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) domestic tournaments. He was very happy with his stay in Pakistan.
Fast forward eight months and Limones is still warm, careful and ambitious in a humble yet very determined way as the PFF announced him to be the Technical Director for the next six months as the Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee Chairman and Secretary Manizeh Zainli held the virtual press conference with Limones on Wednesday afternoon.
The appointment is a welcome change, change that is required to come soon from the old ways of PFF that had been run by the politicians and many other non-footballers.
The Normalisation Committee have gotten their mandate extension till December this year, and they are trying to put a foundation on which football can carry on despite what may happen in the official affairs.
Limones have been in Pakistan since 2018 and he has seen and worked with the youth and coaches at the Atletico de Madrid Academy Lahore, as Head Coach and Manager. He has a UEFA Pro License and he is aiming at laying the foundation that can serve beyond the six months.
To the questions as to what excites him about the PFF job, after being associated with the legendary Atletico de Madrid Academy, he believes it is to put Pakistan football on the “proper track” at least.
“It is not just going to be the six-month contract,” Limones told The Express Tribune at the press conference. “The idea is to develop a plan, a blueprint for the future. Of course we will not be able to change everything in six months, but as soon as the situation becomes easier, after this coronavirus, the idea is to put Pakistan football on right track or at least a proper track.”
“There are 220 million people in the country and if we bring them on the same page, there are huge possibilities. We can gather the ideas, have refresher courses. True, there is no activity because of coronavirus but as soon as the situation becomes easy we’ll have training camps, camps at the academies, and coaching courses.
“We get everyone involved, the players, the coaches, the clubs and academies and provincial associations, we need everyone on the same wavelength, on the same point to have a forward-looking mind-set to just start putting football on the right track.”
Meanwhile, the PFF Normalisation Committee head Humza Khan added that the federation will begin football activities as the situation with Covid-19 cases improves. He says there have been efforts to have international friendlies for national men’s and women’s teams and a Member Association has replied too to the prospect of having international friendly match.
Meanwhile, not a lot of time has passed and the PFF Division B league along with the chance of holding women’s league is there, given the circumstances later in the year during the global pandemic and especially in Pakistan, while, internationally football may be returning but the logistics are different in each country.
Coming back to the future prospects, Khan added, “The PFF can benefit from Limones, his experience and the idea is to lay the foundation, change the structure in such a way that hopefully when the PFF elected body comes in, they can work on it and not make this excuse that there was nothing done before, since having a good foundation matters.”