Roberts ready for Pakistan challenge

KARACHI - Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Graham Roberts aims to raise Pakistan's profile in the world game after signing a two-month deal to coach the national team and prepare them for next month's Asian Games.

"I have not come here for any monetary benefits. I see this job as a big challenge. I would love to see Pakistan ranked among the respectable football nations of FIFA," Roberts told a news conference in Lahore. Pakistan are ranked 162nd in the world.

The tough-tackling former England international, who won two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup with Spurs in the 1980s, will be with the Pakistan under-23 team as coaching consultant for next month's Asian Games in China.

Roberts said he had turned down an opportunity to work in England to take up his assignment with Pakistan.

"It has nothing to do with money. I had a chance to have an interview for two jobs in England but I want a challenge and it will be great experience for me with the Pakistani boys," Roberts said.

The 24-team soccer tournament at the 16th Asian Games takes place from November 7-26 in Guangzhou. Pakistan are in Group F with Thailand, Oman and Maldives.

PFF President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said the presence of Roberts would boost Pakistan football.

"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," Hayat said.

The PFF chief said Roberts's contract had been made possible through private sponsors.