KARACHI: Derived from football, D’goal – a game invented by the residents of Lyari – is not just a means of killing time. The game has slowly gained recognition over many years and this year, it has attracted 64 teams to compete in the Sardar Abdur Rehman Baloch D’goal Tournament. It also seems to have attracted thousands of spectators who are waiting to see which team is able to nab the gold medal.
“The tournament has been held in Lyari for the last 16 years,” said Ustad Nasir Baloch, the chief organiser of the tournament, who added that due to a shortage of football grounds in the city, this kind of a game acts as a way to improve football skills and develop talents.
Teams from across the city are participating in this tournament, which is supervised by the Peoples Aman Committee, Lyari. It is organised without any support from the government or the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) while more than 50 other tournaments are simultaneously played in the area, said Imran Aziz, one of the organisers.
The game is played on a 40 by 40 square-foot yard. It spans over 45 minutes and is played in two halves, each of 20 minutes, with a five-minute break in the middle, said Aziz. Each team consists of four players, who compete in a passing technique game – also called the ground game – in which Lyariites, who are die-hard fans of Brazil – try to play and come up with strategies inspired by the Brazilians, Aziz added.
Abdullah, a student of class seven and one of the organisers, said that he loves to watch and play in these tournaments.
“Such tournaments can also provide children with a healthy environment,” said another organiser, Zubair Baloch, who requested the government to promote football and D’goal games through concerted steps.
“Football holds great charm for the people of Lyari,” said Sameen Ibrahim, the coach nominated for UC-10. However, Ibrahim added that “power politics in sports” is harming players, who have passion and talent. “The government should provide proper facilities and permanent jobs to football players who have the ability to represent Pakistan at the international level.”
Mohammad Ismail, who coaches the team from UC-11, said that PFF president Faisal Saleh Hayat has assured the Peoples Aman Committee, Lyari President Shahid Rehman that all facilities will be provided to the football players at the UC level.
“Our players are unable to perform due to a lack of proper facilities,” said Ismail. “If the government supports this game then it can be promoted at a higher level. The football federation cannot promote the game unless internal politics ends.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2010.
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