KARACHI: The refurbished ground of Coach Emad Football Academy was inaugurated in a ceremony held on Thursday followed by a 7-a-side match between its teams.
The refurbished ground will function as a safe community space to increase opportunities for interaction and positive form of recreation for the youth of Lyari. The ground, formerly a sand-based field, underwent a major transformation through rehabilitation efforts that included excavation work, foundation engineering, a new turf, and the installation of goal posts.
Deputy Commissioner South Irshad Ali Sodhar, Former Union Council 12 Chairman Habib Hasan Chairman, Coach Emad Foundation Azfar Naqvi and CEO, Coach Emad Foundation, Humayun Saghir, participated in the inauguration ceremony. USAID/Pakistan Mission Director Julie Koenen joined virtually and addressed the ceremony through a video conference link.
The ground of Coach Emad Football Academy, which measures at approximately 20,000 square feet, is managed and administered by Coach Emad Foundation on a ten-year arrangement from the District Municipal Corporation (DMC) South.
The Foundation, headed by Azfar Naqvi, was founded after the tragic demise of Naqvi’s young son Emad, who had been a football coach in the United States of America, and who was vocal about his passion for establishing a football academy for the underserved youth of Lyari. In addition to football coaching, the Foundation also provides life-skills coaching to youth, with a focus on mental health.
“This was part of my son’s dream — a dedicated space where the young boys and girls of Lyari can be trained to play football on an international standard football ground,” said Azfar. The DC South also lauded the efforts of USAID through its partner DAI Pakistan. “I am in total awe for this effort. This is an example of public-private partnership that worked very well. Local population, government officials and USAID joined hands to develop such a beautiful ground. Let’s make a hundred more grounds like these in Lyari with your help. I offer full government support for the efforts.”
“It is of utmost importance to support the youth and the diverse communities of Pakistan through positive initiatives. We are proud to partner with USAID to create safe community spaces where our youth can develop their talents,” said Ali Raza, the DAI Pakistan’s Community Resilience Activity Deputy Chief of Party.