EXCLUSIVE: Etzaz Hussain ready for Pakistan

EXCLUSIVE: Etzaz Hussain ready for Pakistan

Norwegian-Pakistani football star very willing to play for the Pakistan national team.

In an exclusive interview with FootballPakistan.Com editor Ali Ahsan, Molde FK central midfielder Etzaz Hussain spoke in detail about his life, football career and plans for helping the Pakistan national team.

With over 300 professional club appearances, including more than 50 in UEFA club competitions, the 28-year-old Etzaz has won three Eliteserien titles and two Norwegian Cups with Molde so far.

No other Pakistani-origin footballer anywhere in the world comes even close towards replicating this kind of success just yet.

The former Norway youth international was recently honoured by the Pakistani government at its embassy in Oslo during the country’s Independence Day celebrations on 14 August 2021.

Etzaz had made the Pakistani Foreign Minister’s Honours List for Leaders Under 40 because of his successful football career in Norway. He was personally commended for being an inspiring member of Pakistan’s diaspora by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a conference call.

Upon receiving the award from the Pakistani Ambassador to Norway in a special ceremony, Etzaz realized he wanted to give something back, “It was an amazing moment for me. But for my parents, it was the greatest feeling in the world seeing their own son being honoured by Pakistan in such a way.”

It was then that Etzaz decided to switch his international football allegiance to Pakistan and help take the country’s football forward.

Thanks to Norway allowing dual citizenship since 2020 and both his parents originally from Kharian/Gujrat, Etzaz is eligible for a Pakistani passport to help switch in international football.

Only thing left is for Pakistan to officially ease the process for Norwegian-Pakistanis wanting a green passport.

But Etzaz realizes the real challenge is first getting Pakistani football back on track, “It is just sad seeing how a country of over 200 million has never been anywhere in world football. The current FIFA ban shows how bad the situation is in Pakistani football and how badly the players are treated there. This has to change immediately.”

He emphasized that Pakistan needs to properly use the best diaspora football talent in Europe to improve its performances as a whole and help domestic players being around established pros like himself. “We all love Pakistan, no matter where we live. We want Pakistan to do well and are always ready to help in any way we can. I will be happy to play for Pakistan and help the team improve.”

“Just imagine what players like me, Easah Suliman [currently at CD Nacional in Portugal], Adil Nabi [currently at OFI Crete in Greece] and others can do for Pakistan’s national team!” exclaimed the midfielder.

Currently, Etzaz Hussain and Molde are in a tense title chase, just three points behind defending Norwegian champions FK Bodø/Glimt with 8 games left in the league season.

Our detailed interview will be published shortly.