By Natasha Raheel,
KARACHI: While many Pakistani footballers dream of playing for English clubs, Jon Ashworth, an English professional footballer, has broken the trend by opting to play for Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) champions K-Electric (KE) ahead of this month’s Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Bangladesh.
Ashworth, who was picked by the Everton youth academy at the age of 14, sees the opportunity to play with a Pakistani club an ideal chance to revive his career, which came to a halt when he failed to make the cut for Everton and in turn quit the sport.
However, he has been playing for a eighth-tier club in the UK for the past four to five years.
It was then that he met with Majid Shafiq, a former KE coach, who saw the potential in the youngster and got him into Stalybridge Celtic Pro Football, where Majid was serving as director.
“I’m quite excited about playing for KE,” Ashworth told The Express Tribune. “I don’t know many people who followed this path but it seems quite interesting to me. My knowledge of Pakistan is what I know from Shafiq. I know that the country needs development in the sport, so my goal will be to learn from the players here and help them improve if I can.”
Ashworth joined KE through Shafiq’s own project — Aspirations All-Pakistan Football Alliance — which acts as a liaison between players and clubs. Shafiq has been using his expertise and resources from the UK, and plans to bring more players to Pakistani clubs.
Ashworth is expected to join the team directly in Bangladesh and miss the training camp, which starts from October 11 in Karachi, but the 24-year-old is confident that he can make up for the lost time as he is a quick adapter.
“I will be training in England and will try to play as many matches as possible to be match-fit when I travel to Bangladesh,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.