Stories about Pakistani football

Thanks to Ronaldinho and friends, football needs to be given its due importance rather than just prioritising cricket.

A few days back, I overheard a child on the street say the following to his friends, “Yaar aaj cricket nahi, football kheltay hain.” (Let’s play football instead of cricket today.) This might be normal in other parts of the world but in a country like Pakistan, where cricket takes the lead amongst other sporting activities, it was virtually impossible. Football may not be flourishing the way it should be in Pakistan, at domestic and international level, but that has not been a hindrance in the ever increasing levels of interest in football. Gone are the days when people used to say, “Pakistan mein football kaun dekhta/khelta ...

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2019 World Cup qualifiers: Is India better than Pakistan?

Football has never been able to achieve much recognition as a professional sport in Pakistan, even though there are many Pakistani football fans present. This is perhaps because most of our attention is reserved for cricket exclusively and hence, like all other sports, football too has suffered. The game has never been invested upon with the aim of building a professional team. Pakistan’s history of football is marked by its underachievement on both national and international levels and the country is perceived as minnow in this sport. Photo: AFP However, there have been surprising instances, where our team ...

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Does Pakistan even care about its FIFA ranking?

Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) method to calculate rankings has had its fair share of praise and criticism over the years, with many calling it inconsistent, while others enjoy the benefits with smaller teams making great leaps with famous wins. However, for minnows like Pakistan, the rankings are truly reflective of the team’s state of affairs. I usually don’t pay much attention to rankings but, nonetheless, it plays a key part when one is in a constant battle to promote the game and raise awareness amongst masses. And it’s no surprise that the eventual mention of Pakistan’s ranking often brings ridicule and disappointment.   [caption ...

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Pakistan sports: Abundance of talent but lack of recognition

It was amazing how Pakistan beat India 2-1 in their Asian games fixture yesterday. If you see the last couple of months in light of the Indo-Pak rivalry, you would be proud to see how well Pakistan has done against India in pretty much all sports. Just last month, Pakistan beat India 2-0 in the final match of a friendly series. Though Pakistan lost the first match, we won the series on goal average. Last week, our domestic side, Lahore Lions, took on the two time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians and surprisingly ended up beating them. And it’s not just these Indo-Pak clashes where we have done really ...

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Yes, I don’t like watching football if Pakistan isn’t playing

The FIFA World Cup 2014 was a sporting spectacle watched by everyone. From youngsters to elderly people, everybody’s eyes were fixed on the television as some of the best players in the world fought for eternal glory. Seasonal fans came out to discuss the matches in detail, while some enthusiastic football critics even took to television to voice their opinions. I, too, watched the games and was amazed by the quality of football on display. But while everyone cheered Argentina, Netherlands or Germany on and cried tears when Brazil lost, I remained neutral. Why wouldn’t I be? My beloved Pakistan was not in the FIFA ...

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From Pakistan to ‘Survivistan’

You make a football for the world to kick (even though we don’t play football) and I cheer you on! You give a speech at the United Nations (UN) and I cry tears of pride and joy! You win a cricket match and I clap till my hands hurt! You get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and my chest bloats with pride! You discovered the Higgs Boson and I am enthralled! Proud is too small a word! You take the first Oscar for your country and I scream out the news to the world! You produce the most divine mangoes in the whole wide world and ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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Of footballs ‘made in Pakistan’

As Pakistanis, by now we all know that while Pakistan is not playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we are still part of this great event, watched by billions of people around the globe. In fact, I would say that we play a vital part in this year’s World Cup as the official FIFA footballs were manufactured and supplied by Pakistan this year. Here are four interesting parallels about the world ‘using and kicking our balls’ that will make you cringe, make you angry perhaps and then, hopefully, make you feel proud and hopeful as a Pakistani. 1. Our ‘balls’ are being kicked by ...

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Hypocrisy at the Pakistan Football Federation is killing our chances at FIFA!

Despite lack of infrastructure, no comprehensive grassroots program and a mediocre league, Pakistani football does have one major gain – foreign-based players. Throughout the globe, national teams opt to pick the best players no matter where in the world they are playing. In Asia alone, you can see glaring examples with world cup candidate Iran recruiting players such as Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) and Daniel Davari (Grasshopper) from Germany to bolster their ranks. Similarly, Lebanon has done the same with a host of European-born Lebanese players opting to play for The Cedars on an international platform. As a result, Lebanon has reached the last round of the 2014 ...

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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 ...

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