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Sufficient Goalkeeping Options Available: Aslam

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KARACHI: Pakistan football team’s goalkeeping coach Aslam Khan has said that the country has sufficient stuff of young and talented goalkeepers and the team would not suffer in the department in future.
“I have been working as goalkeeping coach of Pakistan for the last few years and have been closely observing the goalkeepers. I have come to the conclusion that the country has a bunch of certain young goalkeepers who could turn out to be the future asset,” Khan told ‘The News’ in an interview on Saturday.

“Currently Jaffar Khan is the best goalkeeper and I think he can play for three more years if he keeps himself fit and works hard,” said Aslam, who attended International DFB Coaching Course in Germany in 2007.

Jaffar was ignored for the Pak-India series in England last year after he failed to impress in the World Cup Qualifiers against Bangladesh. But he was surprisingly invited by the newly-signed Serbian coach Zavisa for the SAFF Championship held in India from December 2-12, 2011.

He silenced his critics with his splendid goalkeeping in all the three matches that Pakistan played in the tournament. After the SAFF Cup the experienced goalkeeper from DI Khan was also declared as the best goalkeeper of the Premier League. “No doubt when Jaffar was called for the camp after Zavisa took charge of the brigade for the SAFF Cup, I worked hard on him and instilled confidence in him and everybody saw his fitness and the way he played in that tournament was a treat to watch,” Aslam, a former international, said.

Aslam believes that there are a few glovemen in the market who have enormous talent and if polished rightly could succeed Jaffar.

“Tanvir Mumtaz, Saqib Hanif and Muzammil Hussain are such young boys who if properly trained and groomed could turn out to be the future stars. But of the three, Tanvir Mumtaz, who has recently toured Iran with the Pakistan Under-19 team, looks to be more talented. He has a good height, fine reflexes and good field play ability. Although his coordination is not that perfect but could improve if properly trained,” Aslam said. “I am confident that Tanvir Mumtaz, who is joining KRL, will be able to replace Jaffar after his retirement.”

He said goalkeepers need not only training but also international exposure. “The more international exposure the better they get,” said Aslam, who had to leave international football owing to a knee injury.

It is pertinent to mention here that Muzammil and Saqib Hanif were also part of the Pakistan squad that took part in the SAFF Cup in New Delhi. “We also have Jehangir Khan, Aamir Gul and Mohammad Omar in the circuit. They are good but they should focus on their fitness,” he said. “I also like National Bank’s goalkeeper Aamir Gul but I will advise him to lose weight and keep himself fit. Goalkeeping is the toughest department and the guys have to train extra hard for achieving heights in this,” he said.

He also suggested to the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) that there should be regular specialised training camps for the country’s top goalkeepers. “If a 15-day camp is held after every two or three weeks for the top goalkeepers, we will be able to prepare a better lot for the future,” he said.