KARACHI: Former French midfielder Christian Karembeu is set to join the Pakistan stop of the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy at Lahore on February 3.
“FIFA legend Christian Karembeu is set to join the Pakistan stop of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola (FWCTT). He will be supported by members of the FIFA administration,” a FIFA spokesman told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.
The 47-year-old New Caledonia-born player has strong credentials as a footballer. He played 53 matches for France from 1992-2002. He was part of the French side that won the 1998 World Cup.
Karembeu was also part of the victorious French team at Euro 2000. He made his international debut on November 14, 1992, against Finland with his side winning the outing 2-1.
Now strategic advisor of a Greek professional club Olympiacos FC, Karembeu played 414 matches during his professional club career. The clubs he represented from 1990 to 2006 included Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough, Servette and Bastia.
With the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) having no role in the exercise because of its suspension by FIFA, a company is undertaking the whole adventure.The trophy will be displayed to public at Lahore for a day and will then be taken to Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 4.
It will be a historic occasion as there is no bigger crown in the sporting world than the FIFA World Cup trophy.Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa has also been moved by the event. “It really will be an amazing to see FIFA World Cup trophy coming to Pakistan,” Essa told ‘The News’ from his hometown Chaman, Balochistan, on Wednesday.
“It happens at a time when there has been no football in Pakistan for almost three years. Hosting the trophy will create a sensation among the youth,” the former playmaker said.“At least the game will attract media attention and some will also speak about the country’s football situation on the occasion,” Essa said.
This correspondent has learnt that the event organisers have not invited any person from the suspended PFF or any one from the Arshad Lodhi Group.It is pertinent to mention here that no Pakistan team has toured abroad since April 2015 when the infighting began. A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench has reserved its decision in the case and it is expected that it will announce it this month.