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‘Football is not safe in Pakistan’: striker Hassan rues lack of proper structure

By Alam Zeb Safi
April 07, 2020

KARACHI: Saddened by frequent interruption of football activities due to various issues and lack of a proper structure, Pakistan’s Denmark-based striker Hassan Bashir on Monday advised the national footballers to find other platforms to develop their talent.

“My advice for every footballer is to find other platforms to develop their talent because we have a lot of talent in Pakistan but if you don’t stimulate it and give it the right nutrition its worthless,” Copenhagen-born 33-year old forward told ‘The News’ in a candid interview from Denmark.

Hassan, who was also part of Pakistan’s campaign in the World Cup qualifiers against Cambodia last year, said that the country needs proper league if it wants to develop football. “We need a proper league with sponsors and investors. But in the past, from what I have heard, it has always been a problem for the old PFF to attract the right sponsors and investors,” he said.

Hassan has so far played 20 matches for Pakistan, scoring nine goals during his eight-year long career. He said that there is no visionary leader in Pakistan who could promote the sport.

“Once again we have thrown ten years back. It’s not like we have the space to undergo such a setback once again. There is no leader with vision, ambition and the will to make a sacrifice for Pakistan football. It’s all about personal ambitions,” he lamented.

“From building the young talent to taking care of players, how to treat players, how to set tactics, phsychological part, being professional to set the target after what you put into it, high expectations with so little effort,” Hassan added.

“Honestly, nothing is there. Its embarrassing. I am playing the third-tier league in Denmark at the moment as a semi-professional player and the system and organization is a lot higher than a national team. May be some people will take this as an ungrateful words but those around the team know how much I have sacrificed for Pakistan team during the last eight years. I have been to all unnecessary and low quality camps. All other teams we played against on our level, have professional camps, while ours was always a budget issue. Bad pitches, long travelling, low-level opponents in practice matches, no equipment, not enough staff around the team,” Hassan recalled.

He also criticised the way players are treated in Pakistan. “The worst part is how coaches and leaders of PFF treat players, always as underminers. In every other country its the players who are the stars but in Pakistan it’s the PFF top officials who are the stars,” Hassan alleged.

“During my eight-year spell I have had 4-5 different coaches and several different staff and people around the team. It seems like no one cares,” he said.

He said that football is not safe in Pakistan. “Football is absolutely not safe. I have only met one person in Pakistan who have a little understanding of football and that is Shehzad Anwar. No one else,” he said. Hassan said he was ready to serve Pakistan in any capacity.

“I am ready if called up. I have always been and will always be. Despite the flops, the mismanagement and the incompetency I will always do my best for my country. I really want to join PFF or do something for football in Pakistan if it is as a coach, agent, scout, Technical Director. With a mix of Pakistani and European mentality I think I can contribute,” he concluded.