Rashid urges PFF to launch academies

LAHORE Football mania has gripped Pakistan as 2010 FIFA World Cup is moving towards its knock-out stage. Soccer fever is at its peak especially in Karachi where football lovers of Malir, Liyari and other parts of the city are watching matches of FIFA World Cup on big screens. Former Pakistan skipper and wicket keeper batsman Rashid Latif is also following FIFA World Cup very closely. Talking on a television programme, Rashid Latif has given his expert opinion about different teams in the World Cup. Latif believes that South American teams have the abilities to win the World Cup. Teams like Ivory Coast and Uruguay have been placed in very tough pools but these teams can perform better. Latif has faith in Spain despite its first match loss to Switzerland. He said: Spain is still favourite to win the World Cup despite losing the first match. Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands and Germany are also good teams and they can also reach the semi finals of the World Cup. England was favourites at start of the World Cup but after playing two drawn matches, England are struggling to qualify for the next round, he added. Latif also criticised the team selection of France for the World Cup and said, It is hard to believe that France had left out its three key players Ben, Kareem and Samir Nasri for the World Cup. They also made wrong decision by not playing with Henry in tough match against Mexico. Rashid Latif is satisfied with the performance of Kaka and Messi in the tournament. Real Madrid and Inter Milan are his favourite teams and he has very high hopes from current Inter Milan coach Milinho. Rashid Latif also revealed that he has made the plans to launch football academies and he is in talks with different English clubs to form the academy. He said Pakistan needs to work on grass-root level at Under-13 and Under-15 to pick good players and for that they need to form academies in at least 44 districts of Pakistan. The PFF is obtaining heavy grants from FIFA but they are not utilizing grant in an effective manner, he said.

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