KARACHI: UEFA Champions League winners Kaka, Luis Figo, Carles Puyol and Nicolas Anelka will be in Pakistan next month for the World Soccer Stars exhibition tour, which was earlier scheduled to be held in April.
The event was earlier postponed due to what organisers cited was “a change in business economy” of the country but they announced on Friday that the football legends will arrive in Karachi on November 9 before playing an exhibition match at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore the next day.
FIFA World Cup winners Puyol and Kaka, along with Figo and Anelka, visited Pakistan earlier this year as part of promotions for the event. The match in Lahore will see Pakistan players, shortlisted from a “talent hunt roadshow”, play alongside the legendary footballers.
In Karachi, they are expected to take part in coaching clinics involving young players while attending other fan engagement events. Dawn has learnt that they aren’t playing a match in Karachi due to the lack of an adequate playing facility.
Former Brazilian midfield maestro Kaka and Portugal great Figo came to Karachi and Lahore in January with former France striker Anelka visiting Islamabad in the first week of March.
Former Spanish defender Puyol came later in March, gracing the closing ceremony of the Pakistan Super League final at the National Stadium in Karachi. “I was greeted by thousands of fans in Karachi in March this year, now it’s my turn to welcome you to the most anticipated soccer tour of Pakistan,” Puyol was quoted as saying in the news release.
The organisers said that the tour “aims to promote the promise of football in Pakistan by bringing in international players to inspire the development of football in the country” and it will arrive at an interesting time for Pakistan football.
About a month ago, global football body FIFA installed a Normalisation Committee for the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) — ending nearly five years of crisis and controversy in the country’s football governing body — with the aim of “bringing Pakistani football back on track and see it thriving in the country.”