Pak team coaches removed ahead of World Cup qualifiers

By Our Correspondent
October 02, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee has surprisingly removed coaches who worked with the national senior men's team for the last few days after English coach Stephen Constantine took charge of the brigade which will face Cambodia in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers first leg in Cambodia on October 12.

Well-placed sources told The News that NC removed coaches Sajjad Mehmood, Hasan Baloch and former Pakistan captain Jaffar Khan by bringing in goalkeeper coach Nouman Ibrahim and England-based Shadab Iftikhar whose under-19 team was crushed by India 3-0 in the SAFF Cup final in Kathmandu the other day.

These coaches trained national team for 11 days at a time when NC was negotiating with foreign coaches. Former Pakistan assistant coach Nasir Ismail on Sunday blasted NC's chairman Haroon Malik for disrespecting Pakistani coaches. "He is continuously disrespecting Pakistani coaches and Pakistan's stakeholders are silent," Nasir told The News.

"Haroon is making his relations with foreigners better. He is also bringing eight overseas players to the national side which will take on Cambodia," Nasir revealed. He said that he is surprised that NC doesn't have money for providing quality food and even water to the Pakistan team players but it has brought in two England-based coaches. "From where does this money come? The players are given only one bottle of water per day and they are spending money from their own pockets by taking quality meal outside the hotel," Nasir said.

NC has been handling Pakistan teams very badly for the last few months. It also sacked head coach Shehzad Anwar at a stage when the World Cup Qualifiers were just around the corner. Shehzad had been given the team to prepare it for the Qualifiers and he handled the side for one year but just a few days before the Qualifiers he was removed.