Apr 122013
 

KARACHI: Despite a disappointing show at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will keep Serb Zavisa Milosavljevic as the head coach till his contract expires in November.

While there were reports that Milosavljevic would be sacked after a poor show at the qualifiers, despite the PFF spending a large amount of money on the team’s preparation, federation secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said an improvement was made.

Lodhi based his argument on Pakistan’s rise in the Fifa world rankings that saw the team climb to 168th spot, an improvement of 21 places since February.

“Milosavljevic did make a difference and we can’t deny that,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “The current Fifa rankings, where we’ve shown significant improvement, is proof of this. We would want to keep him till his two-year contract expires in November unless he decides to leave before that. I believe Milosavljevic has improved our national side and he can achieve more if he stays on till the end.”

Pakistan managed to win just one match out of the three they played at the qualifiers and it was reported that the PFF will terminate the Serbian’s contract. Calls gained steam as the PFF was visibly upset with the team’s performance even after the players had extensive training and were invested in heavily by the football federation.

However, Lodhi said the fault lay in Pakistan not producing quality players at the domestic level.

“We were all really disturbed with the results. But the fact is that we have a weak domestic league and that is a reason behind our poor show. The Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) is not producing the quality players we’re looking for and that’s a reason behind our average results in international events.”

Lodhi also pointed out that the PPFL’s top striker Kaleemullah, who plays for KRL, scored three hat-tricks in the domestic league but only managed to score one goal at the international level and that too came against a lowly-ranked team.

Meanwhile, another PFF official confirmed Milosavljevic will supervise a camp for the South Asian Games in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2013.


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