The misery of being a Pakistani sports reporter

Published: May 29, 2012

Here in Pakistan, football hardly ever gets even remotely scandalous. PHOTO: FILE EXPRESS

Often I think about what I would write in my suicide note. I can’t really write that I killed myself out of boredom or the fact that being a sports journalist in Pakistan is equal to being dead.

But you can’t kill something that is already dead, so I’d say that being a sports journalist is like being undead. I realised I’m undead last week right in the middle of the dancing and celebrating with my fellow Chelsea supporters, when I felt the need to kill myself, understanding that covering Pakistani football for two years has never given me a single moment of joy but only a truckload of disappointment.

But where does it leave me as a reporter who covers Pakistani football? The foreign coaches hired by local federations never say anything exciting, sticking to their standard statements. If you want to work as a sports journalist in Pakistan, it is better that you understand that there is no such thing as sports journalism here. There is only cricket journalism. But you can’t blame cricket for the problems that exist in Pakistani sports. There’s got to be something else besides the lack of funds and negligible government support. I figured out that the problem basically lies with the people. What makes a sport popular? It is the personalities who play them.  The crux of the matter here is that Pakistani football has never seen a fiery personality.

Here in Pakistan, football hardly ever gets even remotely scandalous. The coaches will never give good quotes, the players can’t stop complaining and despite all the opinions, good, bad or ugly, they refuse to stand by them. That’s where they lose the battle — their lack of charisma, which means that they are unable to pull people towards themselves. Meanwhile, I’m left with a bunch of athletes and officials too scared to start off a controversy.

Maybe, people associated with minor sports should realise that the word ‘controversy’ is not all that evil. Since the players do not perform well internationally, they can voice their opinions on what is going wrong with their sport. But most officials of sports federations are politically appointed, which means that they would never want the status quo to change.

As a result, as a Pakistani sports reporter, who doesn’t cover cricket, one is often left yearning for some sort of controversy to enliven one’s dull days.

Read more by Natasha here.


Natasha Raheel

A Karachi-based sports reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sane

    @Natasha Raheel
    Very true you are. In all other sports other than cricket and to some extent hockey, sportsmen have a miserable life, if they depend on income through sports. Even they offer selling their medals for living.Recommend

  • sane

    Imgine the life of a footballer in pakistan? Recommend

  • Sahibzada Shabir

    ahhhhhh Painful to read :((((

    sports does not only mean playing for fun, but it is now a big industry, where lot of families should be associated with it. Poor situation of sports journalism is just an example Natasha wrote.

    Cricket is more popular so more responsibility lie on the shoulder of PCB, they should bring forward with ideas like PPL, where other sports can copy them. Recommend

  • Zezu

    @ Natasha, How about Sport Journalism for Shooting; Great talent here !!!
    But this kind of Journalism is already saturated.Recommend

  • Ali

    Much of it is true, but the writer is under-educated to make tall claims such as ‘the crux of the matter here is that Pakistani football has never seen a fiery personality’. The word ‘never’ is too big a word to be used.
    Obviously she has never heard of Qayyum Ali Changezi (known as Qayyum Papa). Who was once a football hero in whole of SOUTH ASIA. If she has heard of him, she could write at least an article about him, who actually had a movie-material personality – controversial, arrogant, scandalous (for the writer’s interest), and immensely talented. In fact he is lesser known in Pakistan because he was more of a Shoaib Akhtar of football, who would ask the national team manager to clean his shoes.
    There is a world out there to be discovered, even if the world is now dead. If the author is interested in football, she should go and excavate that past. Be a sports-archaeologist. Recommend

  • Shyam

    Looking at the direction Pakistan is going, you may have to write another article with the same title minus “sports reporter”Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have made a very valid point but in the end it all boils down to the amount of money thrown behind a particular game.Recommend

  • Glenn Ryall

    A very close friend of mine was so eager to become a sports journalist here in Pakistan and i explained to her exactly what you have expressed here in this blog.

    Though I love playing cricket i even enjoy playing football and basketball as well but never till now have i seen any major development in them.

    My only hope is that things change. Recommend

  • Vigilant

    I don’t know why Indian are obsessed with Pakistan. Can u recommend any Indian sample blog…..Recommend

  • adeel


    One question. Are u quitting ur jobRecommend

  • FootballPakistan.Com

    It pains me to know that despite any journalistic interest of football in Pakistan, few ever bother mentioning or getting in touch with us at FootballPakistan.Com (FPDC).

    We have been at the forefront of football activism and promotion of the domestic game since 2003.

    I would suggest the journalists to come and contact us for more insight, knowledge, etc on Pakistani football.Recommend