KARACHI: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) football team manager Arshad Khan believes that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is an excellent opportunity for selecting new talent for his department.
Arshad, who visited the camps in Fata along with cricketers Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi earlier, said that he has sensed potential and wants to bring the youth from these remote areas into mainstream sports.
He added that he has plans to recruit at least one player from Khark, an area near Kohat.
“The most striking feature there was that there were youngsters playing sports in front of their camps all day,” said Arshad.
“They have only few things to hold on to at this point away from their homes, and sports like cricket and football are playing a big part in their lives right now. I believe that these youngsters have the required talent. In fact, I’m certain that I’ll be recruiting at least one of the players in my team.”
Arshad added that it is essential to recognise the talent of these aspiring players and give them a chance.
“I have a player, Omar, on my radar, who used to play for a local club; he is among the IDPs now. During one of the tournaments, Fata Football Association official Basit Kamal saw him play and he told me about him.
I contacted him and had asked him to show me what he’s got and I was impressed. I know he has talent and it needs to be polished. And that is my goal, to give these players a chance with sincerity.”
The official said he wants to take these players to the Pakistan Premier Football League with his department, and someday they may even represent the country in the national side.
He added that the upcoming IDP Games will also offer opportunities for players in other sports besides cricket and football.
Inaugural IDP Games to begin on August 12
The Fata Olympic Association Secretary Shahid Shinwari confirmed on Wednesday that the first ever IDP Games will take place in Bannu and Fata in collaboration with the Fata Sports Directorate on August 12.
He said that the Games in Bannu include competitions in football, hockey, athletics and basketball.
Meanwhile, in Landi Kotal, football, athletics and target shooting events will be organised on August 14.
“’It’s an initiative to inspire the IDPs and show the world that we have talent,” said Shinwari.“We’ll have local teams and clubs competing in these events, and we are expecting a crowd of at least 20,000 people. We have allotted Rs15 million for the Games.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2014.
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