KARACHI: French footballing icon Nicolas Anelka will be visiting Pakistan on Tuesday, setting his arrival in Islamabad for the TouchSky Group's (TSG) World Soccer Stars (WSS) tour promotion that is aiming to 'revive' football in the country, the CEO Ahmer Kunwar answers a few questions about the event.
TSG had launched their event by inviting Brazilian legend Ricardo Kaka and Portuguese icon Luis Figo in January.
The main event will take place in the last week of April with two matches, scheduled to be played by the international footballers in Karachi and Lahore.
What inspired you to start the WSS?
To help uplift football in Pakistan and give the football fraternity the much-needed boost in football using international world soccer stars.
How important do you think football can be for South Asian Community? And how far do you think Pakistan can go in football?
It’s a long haul vision and will take time. Pakistan has a lot of potential it just needs tapping into using the right methodologies and this is where World Soccer Stars will connect with raw and potential talent in remote areas.
Was it difficult to rope in the international names to come to Pakistan. What are the first impressions of Figo and Kaka when you gave them the idea of visiting Pakistan?
It’s about educating players about Pakistan. It’s about managing expectations and most importantly having the confidence of working with a group who players can trust to deliver professionally.
After WSS, would TSG be reconsidering the Clash of Titans series between India and Pakistan that was supposed to take place in 2011 but got cancelled?
No. It was something that was being put together for a different market. That will never work in Pakistan.
On the other hand, this will be Anelka's second visit to Pakistan, earlier it was for the Leisure Leagues exhibition match in 2017.
The former Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Juventus star will be among the fans at the Centaurus mall in Islamabad.
The WSS will be unveiling another star soon, according to their press release. Kunwar had also been close to the newly-elected Pakistan football Federation (PFF) body. He had been at the Pakistan Premier football League's closing ceremony too in January. He was added to the special task force for sports after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in January as well.
In the press release for Anleka's arrival, he had also said that, "Anelka's visit is to have a deep-dive discussion with PFF on supporting the domestic league structure and the presence of Anelka reinforces our intent, who has taken time out before the tour to discuss structured gateway to European football for Pakistani players."
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