Mohammed Shamlan, the newly appointed national football coach from Bahrain, hopes to highlight the natural football talent in the country during his two-year term with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).
Shamlan, who was the assistant to Pakistan coach Salman Sharida – also from Bahrain – in 2005 and 2006, will take over the coaching duties for the national team from Serbia’s Zavisa Milosavljevic.
His first assignment for Pakistan is to observe the players at the South Asian Football Federation (Saff) Championship that will begin in Nepal from September 1.
Shamlan will be advising assistant coach Shahzad Anwar who will be the head coach for the Championship for which the national team departs today.
“Pakistan is my second home after Bahrain,” Shamlan told reporters at a press conference in Lahore yesterday. “I hope I can achieve better results for Pakistan and improve their current Fifa rankings. The players here have the perfect combination of aggression, discipline and respect.”
The PFF’s move to change the coach just a week before the biggest international tournament of the year came right after Pakistan’s dismal performance at a friendly match against Afghanistan which they lost 3-0.
PFF Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi said the match in Kabul exposed major tactical and technical deficiencies in the national side that was headed by Milosavljevic.
“It wasn’t a sudden decision, we’ve been trying to get a coach from Bahrain for the past three years,” Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “We wanted to get Sharida back but he was busy with other assignments. The Bahrain government will be paying him as well, so it’s a good deal for the PFF. We’ll be saving a lot of money and will use it for other development activities and projects.”
On the other hand, Anwar, who returned with the team yesterday, said that being the head coach in the Saff Championship will be a challenge. He added that the players were shocked to know that Milosavljevic had been replaced. Milosavljevic was being paid $10,000 per month along with provisions of food, transport and lodging
Meanwhile, former national player Arif Mehmood, who coached with both Sharida and Shamlan in 2006, said that the Bahraini will do better than Milosavjlevic.
“Shamlan helped every player when he was here with Sharida,” said Mehmood. “He understands our style of football better than any European-based coach. He is capable of taking Pakistan to the World Cup qualifiers as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2013.
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