Official Partners


News > Football

I Have No Expectations, Says Pak Football Coach

Back To Main


The News

NEW DELHI: Pakistan football coach Zavisa Milosavljevich and captain Jaffer Khan were not on the same wavelength regarding the team’s preparation for the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup tournament that kicks off on Friday (today) here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

During Thursday’s media briefing in New Delhi, Milosavljevich said the team had no expectations but Jaffer contradicted him by saying the coach is new and does not have much idea of the team’s preparation for the biennial event. The Serbian signed a two-year contract with the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in November.

When asked how he rates Pakistan’s chances in the SAFF Cup, Milosavljevich bluntly replied, “I have no expectations.”

Jaffer, however, did the damage control and said: “Milosavljevich has been appointed only last month and doesn’t have much idea on our preparation. To be frank, we have been preparing well for the tournament and we are confident of winning the SAFF Cup.”

Pakistan (174th) are one of lowest ranked side in the tournament and are followed by Sri Lanka (176) and Afghanistan (178). Bangladesh (142) are the highest ranked team while Nepal are 143rd in the FIFA rankings. Defending champions India are 162nd while the Maldives are 166th.

Pakistan have been grouped with Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal in Group B while defending champions India are in Group A with Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. The top two teams from each group qualify for the semifinals.

Jaffer was unnerved that Pakistan will be starting its SAFF Cup campaign against Bangaldesh, who defeated them 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier. He also feels that not being clubbed with India will help the team.

“We have a tough group but there is no pressure. Weak players fail to handle pressure and we have matured who know how to handle it,” he said.

Coach Milosavljevich is pinning hopes on his two European-based players — midfielder Adnan Ahmed and burly defender Atif Bashir. Adnan, a British-Pakistani, plays for lower division English club Bradford Park Avenue while Bashir, a German Turkish-Pakistani, plays for Barry Town in the Welsh first division and at international level for the Pakistan national team.

“Adnan and Atif are the two most experienced players and play overseas. They will be one of the strengths of our team,” said Milosavljevich.

Milosavljevich also said the loss in the World Cup qualifiers was a past for Pakistan and the team is looking for a fresh start with the SAFF Cup.