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Pakistan signs ex-England player Roberts as coach consultant

October 15, 2010 08:00 IST

Pakistan football entered a new era when the national football federation formally signed a contract with a former England and Tottenham Hotspur defender Graham Roberts for the Asian Games.

Roberts, 51, will be coaching consultant with the Pakistan squad for next month's Asian Games in Guangzhou where they are pitted against Thailand, Oman and Maldives in their pool.

Roberts told a press conference in Lahore that he had accepted the Pakistan job because of the challenge it posed for him as a qualified coach.

"I turned down the opportunity to work in England to take the role with Pakistan. It's nothing to do with money. I had a chance to have an interview for two jobs in England and I turned them down because I wanted to have a chance of doing this," Roberts said.

"I want a challenge and it will be great experience for me with the Pakistan boys. I'm not an easy-going person and I just thought if I can do this, other things will come my way anyway," he said.

Roberts who won eight caps for England and also won two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup with Spurs in the 1980s said he wanted to help raise the country's football profile.

"I see this job as a big challenge. I would love to see Pakistan ranked among the respectable football nations of FIFA," Roberts said.

PFF President, Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said the presence of Roberts would boost Pakistan football and also serve as a confidence booster for the players.

"It is great to have such a high profile former player and coach working with our boys. We want to make a mark at the Asian Games. He has signed an initial two-month deal but if we have a good working relationship with him we will try to retain him," Faisal Hayat stated.

He said that it was only possible to sign on Roberts because of the help from private sponsors and I am grateful to all of them.

"Pakistani youth possess immense potential and talent to excel in sports including football and this talent needs to be harnessed through proper facilities and infrastructure and proper coaching in order to bring them at par with international players," he added.

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