KARACHI, Jan 15: “Cricket may be big in Pakistan but football is recognised as a world sport and gaining ground in the country,” said former cricket skipper and PCB’s Director General Javed Miandad at the launch of M. Wasim’s book Alive & Kicking at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Friday.
The 140-page treatise, besides honouring the football legends of Pakistan, brings readers up-to-date on the game’s origin in the subcontinent from pre-Partition days.
“I have myself played plenty of football as a kid. We used to live close to the KMC Football Stadium and have been lucky enough to watch players of the likes of Turab Ali in action there. Pakistan has a lot of talent in football, most of it is emerging from Lyari, a small part of Karachi,” he said.
“We really need to patronize this sport in Pakistan for it is a great game. Even while playing cricket, we indulge in a bit of football during practice,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan football team coach Tariq Lutfi while praising the author’s exceptional knowledge of football, said: “I had requested him once to provide me with an analysis of a league match between PIA and KPT and was surprised to receive a detailed review which I doubt any of the 35 coaches paid in dollars by AFC or FIFA here will ever be able to give me.”
He added: “The PFF officials and stakeholders, too, should help the sport but not by banning or sending away those who know and love the game to hire non-technical people to run the affairs of football here.”
Highlighting the problems being confronted by Pakistan football these days, former Pakistan team captain Col Changezi said that football in Pakistan is considered a poor man’s sport but the best and most popular sportsmen in the world happen to be footballers.
While criticizing the PFF, he said: “It is unfortunate that our football officials have left no stone unturned in killing the game here. Still M. Wasim’s book has given it some sustenance and breathing space.”
Later, Sindh Minister for Sports Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, the chief guest on the occasion, announced that he will help the author bring out an Urdu edition of the book.
The occasion was also graced by former Pakistan football team captains Ali Nawaz Baluch, Abdul Ghafoor and Abid Ghazi, former Chairman Karachi City Zonal Football Association Zone IV South Nasir Karim Baloch, Secretary-General Sindh Women’s Football Association Sadia Sheikh, former FIFA referee Ahmed Jan and Chairman KASB Nasir Ali Shah Bukhari.