KARACHI: Pakistan judo coach Sajjad Kazemi’s visits to various training camps in the country have left him unimpressed.
The Iranian coach has been given the task to prepare the team for the South Asian Games that take place in December in India this year after his appointment by the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) last month.
However, Kazemi, who has trained Iranian national junior players for two years, said the Pakistan players need to be worked on ‘from scratch’ after he visited camps in Peshawar, Islamabad and Quetta where 40 shortlisted players are undergoing training.
“I’m not impressed but I’m hopeful that these players learn quickly,” Kazemi told The Express Tribune. “There are certainly a lot of promising players but the selection process is my concern. I’m planning to submit a detailed report on how to shortlist talented players for the camps who can go on to play in international events.”
Kazemi said that his area of expertise is organising development programmes for junior players and that will be his main focus for the Pakistan judo team.
“I’m most satisfied with the players in Peshawar; they are strong and are perfectly fit for judo. My next job is to start visiting schools to see if we can find more talented players there. I’m sure there are a lot of quality players who don’t take part in national events. So talent hunt is our first priority.”
Meanwhile, according to Hamza Ali, a Peshawar-based player, a foreign coach was very important. He praised the Iranian and called his criticism constructive.
“It’s good to have a coach who points out your weaknesses,” said Hamza. “Most local coaches encourage us but I think getting some criticism motivates a player to try harder.”
The training camp for the South Asian Games will resume on May 10 in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.