Ghayas Zahid, who became the first player of Pakistani origin, to play in the UEFA Champions League this season, is now being courted to represent the country of his parents’ birth.
The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) contacted Ghayas’ old club Valerenga seeking to get in touch with the midfielder, signalling Pakistan’s first official intent to convince Ghayas to return to his roots.
“We received a written request from the Deputy Secretary General of the Pakistani Football Association, Fahad Khan, who politely asked if we could convey the interest to Ghayas,” Valerenga Sports director Jørgen Ingebrigtsen Ingebrigtsen told VG in Norway.
Ghayas, whose family is from Lala Musa in Pakistan, was born and bred in Norway, and began turning heads in Norway after notching 9 goals in 29 appearances during the 2014 season for Valerenga. Having represented Norway at youth levels and been subject of a failed bid from Roma, Ghayas was naturally expected to turn out for the Nordic side.
However, he is yet to represent Norway and added that he hasn’t forgotten his Pakistani roots.
The Pakistani national team must rnise. Of course, I want to play at the highest possible level, but it’s asking if Norway wants me, “said Zahid to VG in Norway.
“I have a good relationship with Pakistan. My father was born there and I have been there a couple of times. I am very familiar with the culture and have grown up with it at home. I want to say I’m a nice mix of Norwegian and Pakistani.”
The Pakistan National Team in the last decade or so has seen a multitude of players of Pakistani origin choosing to return to their roots and playing for the country of their parents with the Shaheens being captained by Copenhagen-born Hassan Bashir in their last outing in 2015 as well.