Lahore, 3 March: Pakistan’s biggest football-only Peoples Sports Complex Stadium, Karachi will host eagerly-awaited Pakistan-Palestine Football Clash on Friday, 4 March (4 PM). The stadium will be ever remembered in Asia’s soccer history for the sixth edition of SAFF Championship that was ran in 2005 under the superb leadership of PFF President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat who was then Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, and soccer fraternity hailed his work for bringing SAFF’s showpiece event onto Pakistani soil. The eleven day event, having eight participants nation, also won the heart of Bangladesh’s Siraj-ul-Islam Bachchu who was then SAFF General Secretary of SAFF as well as Marketing Company M/S World Sports Group (WSG)’s representatives Thomas Wheeler and Mohamed Shahrum Jappar.
Completed in 1995, the stadium is among the most prestigious soccer centers in Asia. The South Asia’s Regional event made debut at Pakistani city Lahore in 1993 as first SAARC Gold Cup. It returns to Pakistan, and Karachi, with different title “ SAFF Championship” after a journey of Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
Since its commissioning by former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, during her second tenure, on 9 December 1995, Peoples Complex has the honor of staging the Asian Cup Winner Cup – Second leg between Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and Bec Tero Sasana Club of Thailand on 6 September 2000, followed by Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea)’s tour of Pakistan in March 2002, AFC U20 Qualifiers in April 2002 and 18th World Cup 2006 Qualifiers in Nov 2003 that Pakistan lost 0-2 to Kyrgyzstan. Last time, the stadia hosted the international match on 1 March 2006 when Pakistan faced UAE in 14th Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The stadium, brainchild of former Chairman Jamshed Ahmed Khan of District Municipal Committee (South), is situated at Lyari Town, a congested seaside settlement in Karachi. It is country’s only exclusive properly floodlit football stadium that could hold forty thousands fans in its bowl. It is situated at Mauripur Road, near Wazir Mansion Railway Stadium in Lyari Town : one of the 18 towns of Karachi.
The first match at this venue was played on 14 August 1999 when Habib Bank Limited drew Karachi Port Trust 2-2. People’s Sports Complex was no less than Islamabad’s Jinnah Sports Complex, a symbol of Pak-China friendship, as far as sporting facilities were concerned. Football stadium is the main attraction of the complex with four lighting towers having a total of 300 bulbs in addition to separate players changing rooms, technical delegate room, conference room, commentary boxes,etc.
With the exception of tartan track, provision of which was there, it had a multi-purpose indoor gymnasium, and a boxing arena, practice area for pugilists, canteen and 74 rooms around the football stadium. Spread over an area of 10-acres, the affairs of People’s Sports Complex were managed by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK). PFF also tried their luck to gain hosting of inaugural AFC President’s Cup at People’s Sports Complex but it slipped away from Pakistan’s hand and awarded to Nepal.
It is also a regular venue of Pakistan Premier Football League since 2004. A packed to capacity watched the final of 47th National Championship final on 13 August 2000 here when ABL’s Gohar Zaman, now manager of Pakistan team, hammered the lone goal against HBL.