KARACHI: Football fans in Pakistan celebrated the arrival of FIFA World Cup Trophy in the country ahead of this year’s competition. Several representatives of the country’s football fraternity were present in Lahore for a series of an event held throughout the day during Trophy’s single-day stay here.
However, there was no representation from Pakistan Football Federation at the event as the country is currently suspended from FIFA due to governance-related issues.
This is 2nd time in four years that the FIFA Trophy arrived in Pakistan and 2022, the PFF was also suspended when the trophy was here in 2018.
And this situation makes Pakistani Footballers saddened.
Among them, one was Pakistan’s Football captain Saddam Hussain.
Saddam was among the guests invited by Coke at the Trophy tour events, he got the opportunity to pose with the trophy along with French world cup winner Christian Karembeu.
And while posing with the glittering FIFA World Cup Trophy, the Pakistani Footballer had several thoughts running through his mind regarding the future of Football in Pakistan.
“It is a great moment for us that Trophy is here. When I looked at the trophy, I was thinking like what if Pakistan was also there, how amazing things would’ve been,” he said during an interview with Geo.
“Getting close to this trophy and holding this trophy is a dream of every single person in the world who plays this sport, this is the most valuable asset for any footballer in the world but, sadly, we in Pakistan stay so far from even getting ourselves in race to win this,” he regretted.
Pakistan has never qualified for the football world cup and has never won any qualifier game.
“We lack in every department. We don’t have league infrastructure, we don’t have basic facilities, coaching or any support to the player, the world has moved on, there’s very strong competition and we don’t have competitive football even at home,” he mentioned
“And, with PFF being suspended we don’t have any activity. I am afraid that if things don’t get improved quickly, my dream of seeing Pakistan in the World Cup will remain a dream. If it was not Coke, I don’t think fans here would’ve got this opportunity to see a glimpse of this prestigious trophy,” he said.
When asked what steps Pakistan needs to take if they want to be there, the top Footballer of the country said that we need to expect anything overnight and start working on long-term plans where footballers are provided all professional facilities.
He added that a visit by former legends won’t bring anything at the grass-root level, we need to take practical steps there.
“These visits by former legends will only help us in improving our image globally and it may also motivate youngsters to opt for the game, but we need to work where it is needed – the grassroot level,” he concluded.