Disappointment in Mauritius and India

July 2, 2023

The reliance of national football management on foreign-based players did not produce the desired results

Disappointment in Mauritius and India

Pakistan football team’s dismal performance in the four-nation tournament in Mauritius and the eight-nation SAFF Championship in Bengaluru must have disturbed the authorities greatly. Pakistan lost three matches in Mauritius and then lost the initial two with 4-0 score lines against India and Kuwait in the SAFF Cup, which also showed them exit door. It clearly shows that it’s not an easy job to settle a fighting combination overnight and defeat those nations which have been growing constantly over the years.

Till writing of this piece Pakistan were yet to face Nepal in their final game in the SAFF Cup which was only a formality. This game was scheduled to be held on June 27.

Pakistan fielded nine foreign-based players on these two tours with some having played football at the highest level. The authorities thought that they would be able to click with the foreign stuff but they were wrong to think that. We have seen that there was nothing extraordinary from any one of them and only relying on them was wrong.

Teams never develop overnight. They need years to play together and grow slowly and gradually.

These events were a sort of preparation for this year’s World Cup Qualifiers but I don’t think we have made any preparation. We scored just one goal in five matches and conceded 15 goals. And if matches against Nepal and Maldives in recent months are also included it will take the goals tally which we conceded to 17 as we had been beaten by Nepal and Maldives with identical score lines of 1-0.

I don’t think it’s convincing even for a nation which did not play regular football for the last seven years due to infighting among various factions.

But the biggest problem is that the PFF Normalisation Committee is an interim set up and it seeks shortcuts to achieve glory which is not possible. I would tell NC and the team management not to do experiments further but follow merit.

We need domestic football events which is the only way to get talent through.

Let’s ask former Pakistan Serbian coach Zavisa Milosavljevic and he will tell you about Pakistan’s performance, especially the game against Kuwait and what the nation will need to improve its football.

“Kuwait is an extremely fast team. The big problem is that the players of the Pakistan national team did not have a block in the middle of the field.

They did not manage to stop the pass in depth on the sides and behind the back of the defenders of Pakistan team. This allowed Kuwait to make quick half-counters and counter-attacks, which resulted in goals for Kuwait,” Zavisa told ‘The News on Sunday’ (TNS) in an interview from Serbia.

“Also as I mentioned Kuwaiti players easily converted their chances with unblocked shots near Pakistan’s goalkeeper in the penalty area,” he said.

“If we look at the performances of Pakistan during the preparation in Mauritius for the SAAF Cup and after the matches against India and Kuwait, generally head coach Shehzad Anwar and the PFF should be partially satisfied with the performance shown.

“The high level of seriousness and motivation of the players during the matches should be highlighted,” he said.

“But it was certainly not enough to achieve a good competitive result. After a long break from the international scene and only a few friendly matches, this result was expected,” he said.

“To create a well-selected, stable and competitive team that will be able to compete with teams at the Asian and World level, a minimum of 2-4 years of continuous training process is required.

“During that period it is necessary to play a large number of training matches with other national teams and gain international experience,” Zavisa said.

“But as a base for everything previously a domestic league system must be created. The domestic league should produce the best players for the national team. During the domestic championship, the players would play a large number of games, 30-36 in the Championship and 6-10 for the National Challenge Cup,” Zavisa said.

“It would be the basis for the selection of the best domestic players. Bringing quality would be done by inviting to the national team players who play in foreign leagues, and who would meet the criteria of the national selection. Of course all of this is a multi-year process and only after that period can we expect good results,” he said.

“Achieving this goal requires a highly skilled training process and patience. If it is accepted we can hope for success. Otherwise Pakistan will always lag behind the level of world football,” he said.

“As for qualification for the next World Cup, one should always hope. But we should not forget what precedes the road to success.

Surprises are always possible,” he signed off.


Disappointment in Mauritius and India