Local association enjoys services of foreign coach
KARACHI, April 13 While Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is dilly-dallying in hiring a foreign coach, Karachi`s South Zonal Football Association has been enjoying services of a coach from the United States on self-help basis.
Sonny Moss has been holding training sessions for the local coaches for the last two days, while about 100 kids were also coached on Sunday by these coaches under the American who has been on a volunteering assignment from Tennessee. Sunday was the last day of his coaching clinic.
“We are here basically to first establish close ties and friendship to know what sort of help these people require. In football, as we are not here to stay for a long period, we are focussing to train the local coaches which will help them coach the youngsters of seven to 10 years of age,” Moss told Dawn at City District Football Association (CDGK) stadium.
Moss, a sports and physical fitness specialist who also is involved in mentoring juvenile offenders in the US, has been invited by Lyari-based non-governmental organisation Lyari Community Development Association (LCDA). The association is being run by a US national Jonathan Dunnette – the executive director of the NGO.
The NGO is basically involved in social development programmes in Lyari. Abdul Hai, the director of LCDA, was asked by South Zonal Football Association chairman Nasir Kareem to invite coaches from the US to give the sport some boost in soccer-crazy Lyari.
Moss was brought by Robert Rice who has already been engaged in development projects in Lyari on volunteer basis in collaboration with LCDA.
“When I first came to Lyari, I was surprised to know that this place has huge following of football unlike cricket which is a craze in rest of Pakistan. When I was told by Nasir and other local football-loving people of this area that there are 127 teams around having only 20 coaches, I decided to provide some coaching tips to local coaches,” said Moss.
The American, who is also a sports organiser, said the basic idea was to give the local coaches better knowledge of the coaching.
“The local coaches are quite good, but all they need is better understanding of how to coach the kids. We are working here with things like fun and skills which we want the locals to share. I have also watched the kids playing here. But the difference between Pakistani and American football is that we start at seven or eight years, while in Pakistan a boy starts playing when he is already 24 or 25.”
Although Moss and Rice were not very optimistic of taking a group of Lyari children to America for training because of visa problems, Moss hoped that he might be able to bring a group of college football players from Tennessee from where he belongs.
Both, Moss and Rice, were of the view that though there might be some political problems in the region, the situation was not as bad as foreigners usually thought.
“We are certainly concerned and cautious about our safety, but things are not as bad as one feel they are while sitting outside Pakistan,” said the Americans who also have brought their wives along with them for volunteering.
Interestingly, Pakistan team, despite receiving FIFA`s financial assistance, has been without foreign coach since December 2006 when Bahrain`s Salman Sharida left the squad for his country after Doha Asian Games.