On the eve of the FIFA World Cup, Sindh youth celebrated the sport in a short format at the artificial small turf of the Star Links School in Karachi.
The inaugural, inter-district, six-a-side tournament was organised by Diya Football Club and the Karachi School of Physical Education’s Sadia Sheikh in collaboration with Arts Council of Pakistan, which gathered Under14 girls and boys from Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Hyderabad and Sanghar for the two-day event.
“I really enjoyed playing. Just playing made a big difference for me,” the 12-year-old Bilawal Irfan told The Express Tribune at the end of the event, as Sanghar took the trophy for fair play.
Even though Bilawal has been playing football in his village in interior Sindh, the team was made in two days before the event, explained Abdul Hameed Rind and Gul Pari Marri Baloch, who were with the team as officials and helped the children come all the way to Karachi.
Bilawal like another star player from Sanghar, Muhammad Sahir, began playing football a year and a half ago and feels that they want to continue playing football, but at the end of the day it is about the facilities available to the youth.
Similarly, fourth graders Ayesha Muzzafar and Myra Amir Bukhsh, who were also part of the team, believe that playing football has helped them become more confident and it is a sport that their families support them with as well.
Looking at the World Cup, the children showed enthusiasm to follow their team but mostly for Bilawal and Sahir, the tournament will be about their favourite forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
In fact, an overwhelming majority of players prefer Ronaldo to be their favourite.
Meanwhile, star goalkeeper of the event Arham Faisal, who also participated in Baku with Diya FC earlier this year, was happy to be on the winning side. He was playing for the Karachi PE School team blue, which won the tournament.
Donning the Ronaldo jersey, Arham feels that the tournaments he has played in for the last couple of years have given him the confidence and taught him to respect the girls in the team that he plays in.
“I have been playing football since I was five,” said Arham, who goes to Bay View Academy and remembers Ronaldo to be the payer who inspired him to play the sport in the first place. He added that his family also makes sure that he plays the tournaments and makes them proud.
However, he feels that that the girls in his team have been playing very well and at the end of the day his message for anyone looking to pursue football for a career is, “believe in yourself and never give up, if you take a decision then carry on with it.”
Like Arham, Minaal Khan who received an award for her individual performance too, feels that football works as an outlet for her.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ