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Essa wants senior players inducted for AFC Cup

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The News 

Alam Zeb Safi

KARACHI: Former Pakistan football captain Mohammad Essa said on Wednesday that coach Zavisa Milosavljevic should induct more experienced players in the senior team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Qualifiers to be held in March 2013. “I am not against youngsters. Four or five junior players should always be kept in the senior team for grooming. But it is not appropriate that the whole senior team comprises youngsters as such a side cannot produce any result at the continental level,” Essa told ‘The News’ on Wednesday in an interview from his hometown Chaman.


“Football cannot be played with passion and power alone. It also requires experience and if the coach wants to produce better results, he should bring in all those senior players back who are fit and can serve the country,” he said.


“When a player reaches the age when he can perform better, he is dropped forever,” the player pointed out.


About his own comeback into the team, 28-year-old Essa said he was fit and could play for a few more years.


Essa had retired from international football along with goalie Jaffar Khan after falling out with the then coach George Kottan, an Austrian, at the SAFF Cup in Dhaka in December, 2009.


Although Jaffar revoked his retirement and led the team in the 2010 Asian Games in China, Essa did not accept the PFF offer for joining the team for the continental event.


Essa will come back to the team only if the authorities make him skipper for two years.


To a query, Essa said that the induction of foreign-based players in the senior team would also be a good step towards building a fighting unit. “It would be better if the experienced foreign-based players were also inducted in the squad. But they should be bound to attend the whole training camp ahead of the international event and should not join the team directly,” said the playmaker, who also leads KESC in the Premier League.


“The rapid induction of foreign-based players has always created problems for the home-based players and I must say that their presence in the training camp for a few days will be very important,” elaborated Essa, who is regarded as one of the best captains the country has ever produced.


He said that six months should be enough for Zavisa to build a strong team. “The team will need minimum six or seven international matches against tough oppositions before the event,” added Essa, who is also undergoing License B coaching course from the AFC.


About the performance of Zavisa as a coach, he said that one could not judge a coach in six months. “A coach cannot produce results in such a short time. He has spent hardly six months and I would suggest that the Serbian should be given more time to prove himself,” he said. “Salman Ahmad Sharida, the former Pakistan coach from Bahrain, did not look good in his first year, but in the second year he started producing good results and the team even clicked under him at the Doha Asian Games by giving tough time to the mighty teams like Japan and North Korea who also played World Cup later,” he recalled.


Source:            http://www.thenews.com.pk/