Football: Missing chances seems to be a habit says coach

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 10:00:16 by


KARACHI: Coach Zavisa Milosavljevic was a disappointed man after his first assignment with the Pakistan football team, the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, saw them crash out in the group stages despite staying unbeaten.

Milosavljevic, who signed a two-year contract with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in November, replaced Tariq Lutfi as the head coach and spent 20 days with at the training camp.

Need to take our chances: coach

The team recorded three draws in the tournament, failing to qualify for the semi-finals from their group that also featured Nepal and Maldives. However, the biggest disappointment for Milosavljevic was the team’s performance against Bangladesh and the inability to convert chances.

“I feel the team is in a habit of missing opportunities,” Milosavljevic told The Express Tribune. “We missed eight great chances against Bangladesh and the curse continued throughout the campaign. Personally, it was a great chance for me to determine strategies for my remaining time here. It was a good starting point. The result is disappointing but I’m satisfied with the feedback from players.”

The Serb said the biggest challenge was to prepare the under-21 team for the Asian Football Federation Championship and finalising the senior team for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers that take place in March. He added that the players’ inexperience needed to be addressed and for that international exposure was required.

“We are going to have a friendly in February and that will prepare the team. Meanwhile, the goal is to qualify for the Challenge Cup in 2013,” said Milosavljevic before adding that the state of the pitches his team had to prepare on during the training sessions needed to be improved.

“I’ve told the PFF that we can’t practise on bad pitches. It gets very difficult to prepare the team with bad facilities. The grounds are just not up to the mark and this is just basic stuff.”

Domestic standard needs improvement

Meanwhile, Milosavljevic is also intending to examine the domestic leagues, which he believes only impedes the progress of the sport if it is not played professionally.

“A professional league can make all the difference.
We played a couple of matches against KRL and some other clubs that participate in the national championship, but they were of no comparison to the international standards,” lamented the Serb.

He also encouraged the idea of UK-based Pakistani players playing for the national side. “I have no
issues with these players playing for the national team, as long as they are physically fit and contributing positively to the team’s cause.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.


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