Mediocre coaches give mediocre results

The authorities seem unconcerned about the embarrassing defeat of the national outfit

Muhammad Wasim July 20, 2011
Saudi Arabia’s dismal run at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign resulted in the mid-tournament sacking of their national football team coach Jose Peseiro, who was replaced by the world-renowned Frank Rijkaard.

We see a similar trend in Iran, where Afshin Ghotbi was replaced by Carlos Queiroz, while Qatar fired their long-serving coach Bruno Metsu and appointed Serbia’s Milovan Rajevac in his place.

In fact, wherever ‘the beautiful game’ is followed with passion and sincerity, failures on the field are taken seriously by both the fans and the concerned authorities.

Football federations leave no stone unturned to rectify their errors and go looking for the best coaches and players, who will give their all in order to bring in the desired results.

Arrival of the world’s top managers like Rijkaard and Queiroz on the Asian circuit is the proof of how serious the football authorities of Saudi Arabia and Iran are in turning around the fortunes of their teams and preparing them for the 2014 World Cup.

If we now take a look at the state of affairs in Pakistan football, we see an entirely different picture, where the authorities have shown absolutely no concern for the poor run of form that the national team has suffered recently, which culminated in the defeat by Bangladesh in the first round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Even more disappointing is the attitude of the officials associated with the team and the federation.

Instead of immediately sacking the head coach Tariq Lutfi - who is trying to save his skin by giving one lame excuse after another for the defeat against Bangladesh, ranging from a wet field to poor weather and lack of practice - the authorities have allowed him to continue for the series against India.

What Lutfi should have done was to analyse our players’ deficiencies, but such introspection is maybe too much to ask of him.

An honest appraisal of the situation will tell us that had Pakistan been playing any other team, defeat was expected because they do not have access to modern coaching techniques and are untrained to meet stiff challenges.

Those incharge know very well that the ‘most qualified and experienced’ coach of the country, a bunch of expatriates and raw talent from a below-average league system is not enough to make a competitive team.

Grooming that into a decent outfit requires time, dedication and long-term planning, and Lutfi does not work on these elements.

He has asked for maximum international exposure for the team but forgets that in his fifth stint as the coach of the national outfit, Pakistan played 32 international matches in six months but were only able to win five and that too against lowly-ranked teams.

All the international exposure that Pakistan got this year could have paved the way towards the formation of an efficient team, but sadly the incompetence of the coach ensured that no such positive outcome was possible.

The PFF hierarchy’s desire to hire yes-men, rather than qualified personnel, has ruined the development of the sport in the country.  Someone needs to remind the PFF that mediocre coaches can only give mediocre results.


Muhammad Wasim A columnist for The Express Tribune with a masters degree in mass communication from Karachi University.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.