The first ever Baba-e-Football Abdul Majeed Khan Memorial Award ceremony was held to acknowledge 22 international footballers hailing from Karachi’s DFA Central for their services to Pakistani football.
The award was presided over by chief guest M.M.Ghalib (Director at Pak Business) with other guests including Muhammad Arabi (General Manager at Shafi International), and officials from Sindh FA and all five District FAs of Karachi.
The awards were presented to FIFA coaching instructor Tariq Lutfi (KRL), internationals Muhammad Naqi Khan, Sajid Hashmi, Ghulam Sarwar Sasa, Saleem Patni, Abu Bakar, Sultan Ali (PIA), Syed Nasir Ismail, Nasir Ali, Zahid Taj, Misbah ul Hassan (NBP), Agha Saeed (KESC), Arif Raza (Pakistan Customs), Ayaz Butt (KRL), Saif Ullah (Pak Steel), Fahim Shah (Wasif Memorial FC), Mohsin Shah (KPT), M Asim (Nishan-e-Haider FC), Hameed Alam (Shah Faisal FC), Imtiaz Ahmed (House Building), Ahsan Raza (NBP), FIFA referee Abrar Hussain, national referees Saleem Uddin, M Ashraf, Babar Khan, Abdur Rehman, Saleem Musa, Mutahir Hussain, Ismail Mansoori, and Husam Uddin. Rewards were also given to all presidents and secretaries of Karachi’s five DFAs.
Chief Guest M.M. Ghalib spoke at the occasion saying, “All five of Karachi’s district football associations and clubs envy how DFA Central managed to produce 22 international footballers, 10 national referees, and keeping together more than 40 football clubs together. However the way District Central’s two hardworking men, Riaz Ahmed and Muhammad Shamim, have been at the heart of making it all possible can never be thanked enough”.
Sindh FA’s vice presidents Azam Khan (Hyderabad) and Fateh Muhammad Baloch (DFA Malir) also spoke at the occasion stating their collective worry about no football club out of more than 600 from Sindh being good enough to compete at the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) level. Azam Khan spoke about the need for a collective assessment of football throughout Sindh to correct the mistakes and administrative faults that have kept football clubs in Karachi and across Sindh fall way behind the rest of Pakistan.
Azam Khan also warned about continued political disputes and mismanagement in local football will mean only clubs from the small Balochistan city of Chaman will play at PPFL level.
Tariq Lutfi spoke about his own concerns over Sindh football’s lagging behind. He also spoke about Chaman saying that despite very meagre resources and facilities a small city like Chaman has done what even Karachi with all its history, facilities, 3 A-License, 2 B-License, and many C-License coaches have failed to do at nationwide level. He also expressed remorse over how local footballers are not promoted enough throughout Sindh and Karachi. He also feared that if necessary steps are not taken at all levels in the province, the coming generation of football lovers will not forgive this generation of officials, coaches, and organisers.