Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor, Islamabad
Pakistan made it to the quarter-finals of the Street Child World Cup in the wee hours of Friday morning after holding USA to a 1-1 draw. The Pak Shaheens earned a credible win over Mauritius earlier in the day, with 15-year-old Aurangzeb grabbing a hattrick during a 3-0 triumph.
And while the scorer is delighted with his tally, he claimed the Street Child World Cup also reflects on key values such as courage and integrity, while making the squad more mentally strong.
“I feel good after scoring the hat-trick, but this tournament is more about showing courage and keeping integrity,” told The Express Tribune. “Our coach Abdul Rashid grills us before every match that we need to be mentally strong; we can’t let the other team take over.
“He also tells us that we are playing for Pakistan and so we need to show the world that we are brave.”
Azad Foundation Director Itfan Maqbool also commented on the team’s superb performances, claiming that they have evolved as people and are not only garnering praise, but are learning to give it back as well.
“I’ve seen these children from the very beginning and then through the training,” said Maqbool. “Now they are different people. They are getting a lot of praise and respect, but they are also learning to give it back too,” said the official while talking to the Express Tribune.
The squad was one of the first sides to pray for Brazil’s Rodrigo Kelton, who was unfortunately killed a few months before the tournament.
“They even paid tribute to a Brazilian Street Child World Cup player Rodrigo Kelton who was tragically killed two months ago,” said Maqbool. “Our team was the first one to pray for him; they lit candles for him there,” added another official
Aurangzeb also reflected on the unfortunate tragedy, claiming that they can relate to the criminal aspects of the streets.
“It’s very sad to learn that someone died because of the criminal aspect of the streets,” said Aurangzeb. “All of us were very gloomy when we went to the church. We understand,” added the player while talking to Express Tribune.
Pakistan will now play their quarter-final against Philippines today at 7:00 PM PST.