As the flagship Real Estate project in Islamabad, Pakistan between Saif Group and Ora Developers, Eighteen sought to change the way it gave back to society and ended up promoting the unlikeliest of sports in the twin cities; football.
“Team Eighteen is a sole initiative of our CEO Tarek Hamdy under the ambit of Corporate Social Responsibility that was initiated back in 2018 when our CEO saw a couple of footballers playing Futsal at Rodham Hall Islamabad, he had the vision of giving amateur football players a flag to unite under giving them a sense of identity under the colors of Eighteen,” said Faizan Sameer Malik, who oversees the project as Team Manager.
The team, which primarily plays 6 and 7-a-side in its initial stages, has signed some of the most talented futsal players in the city and recently acquired the services of Moeez Sajjad, arguably the famous football in the capital.
According to Faizan, Eighteen has a long-term plan of setting up an 11-a-side team and competing nationally but is already offering a stipend, medical insurance, education fees as well as jobs and internships to the players, with many of them coming from humble socio-economic backgrounds.
Futsal, as it’s commonly known, has mushroomed in Islamabad and Rawalpindi over the last decade and currently boasts the largest number of football astro-turf fields in the country. Subsequently, there is a strong amateur futsal culture that has trickled into educational institutes, private teams and corporations alike.
While Eighteen sees their foray into football as more of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) venture, they have ambitious plans to take the game forward and aim to utilize the availability of their own land, courtesy of their own project.
“We plan to develop in a number of ways. We want to bring in academies down the road to Islamabad and are planning to build a club house as well, which will include state-of-the-art facilities including football pitches, dressing rooms, gymnasiums and other amenities,” added Faizan.