KARACHI: After the players, its time for a coach. The Diaspora influx under the Pakistan Foot­ball Federation Norma­lisation Committee continued when Britain-based Shadab Iftikhar was appointed coach for the Under-19 team on Tuesday.

The FIFA-appointed PFF NC under Haroon Malik has shown a strong liking for Diaspora players for both the men’s and women’s national team in the last year but Shadab is the first dual-national coach to have been given a job at the helm of a national team.

The first assignment for the 34-year-old former Mongolia assistant coach comes next month when the national team takes part in the SAFF Under-19 Championship in Nepal.

“Holding a UEFA A Licence, Iftikhar boasts a rich background,” the PFF NC said in a news release.

“He fulfilled the role of a scout under Roberto Martinez, contributing his expertise to both Wigan Athletic and Everton Football Club, each for a two-year span.

“He also worked for the Royal Belgium Football Federation as an opposition scout during the Euro 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”

Shadab was most recently technical director at Bhutanese club Thimpu FC while his last stint as coach — of Scottish fifth-tier club Fort William — ended in May last year.

The national women’s team also has a dual-national coach in Adeel Rizki, who like PFF NC chief Haroon has Canadian nationality.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2023

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