FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil
Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies.
Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child World Cup (SCWC), one is now hopeful that Pakistan might actually possess the talent to boost this ranking all the way up to the top 10.
Even though we may not be recognised for our football playing skills yet, we are very well-known for the production of footballs that make these tournaments go round. Pakistan has managed to mark its presence by providing the FIFA World Cup with locally manufactured durable footballs that will be used during the matches.
The FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be held in Brazil next month. Around 3,000 Brazuca balls are expected to be manufactured and supplied by Pakistan. Along with being a source of national pride, this development will also provide the much-needed boost to our economy.
These wonder balls are made in the city of Sialkot, which is famous for making sporting merchandise. As the World Cup approaches, the demand for football has risen further, since they are not only exported to Brazil but to the rest of the world as well. Therefore, the manufacturers have upped the ante and implemented different tactics, such as increasing daily wages to ensure high quality production.
Previously, due to setbacks concerning child labour policies, buyers had suspended their contracts and orders in Pakistan. This setback not only landed the economy in a slump but also portrayed the country in a negative light. It also cost Pakistan the contract for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was then given to China, whose footballs were not as high quality.
However, the practice has now been curtailed and Pakistan is fortunately back in the market. Football factory workers now carry employee cards declaring that children under 15 are not employed.
Seeing Pakistan back in the football market, even in the capacity of a supplier, has been a source of great joy for every Pakistani. At this point, it really doesn’t matter if we were not able to participate as a team; what does matter is that we provided the one thing that will run the show.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.