'Football played more than cricket in Pakistan in last five years'

Professional coach highlighted that football has become the most popular sport in the country

January 21, 2024
Pakistan's players celebrate their win over Cambodia at the Jinnah Sports Stadium in Islamabad - AFP

ISLAMABAD: Professional football coach Shahzad Anwar, in an exclusive interview with Geo News, shed light on the current state of football in Pakistan, emphasising the need for significant improvements and reforms in the sport.

Anwar highlighted that football has become the most popular sport in Pakistan in recent years, surpassing even cricket in terms of participation.

"The most popular sport in Pakistan right now is football and it has gained prominence across the nation. For the last 5 years, football has been played more than cricket in the country," he said.

However, Anwar expressed concern over the impact of politics on football in Pakistan, describing it as a victim for several years. He stressed that the introduction of a new football set-up in the country could bring about positive changes and improvements.

Drawing a comparison with other nations, Anwar noted that grassroots football is extensively played in many countries.

"For the past several years, football in Pakistan has been a victim of politics. If a new set-up comes, it will improve. In other countries, grassroots football is played a lot but there is no system of grassroots football here," he said.

He underscored the importance of establishing such a system to nurture young talent.

Anwar advocated for the creation of a Premier League in Pakistan, stating that it is essential for the development and promotion of football in the country. He cited the success of India in football development over the past decade and acknowledged that Pakistan needs to catch up.

"There should be a premier football league in Pakistan. Take the example of India, they have done a lot of work. They promoted their football in a great way."

Anwar mentioned that Pakistan recently qualified for the World Cup Qualifying Round Two for the first time, marking a significant achievement for the country. He emphasised that Pakistani footballers are gaining valuable experience and showcasing their talent on the international stage.

However, he raised concerns about the lack of a structured football coaching system in Pakistan.

"There is no shortage of football talent in the country; rather, it requires effective management and coaching to reach its full potential," he added.

Anwar. in his concluding remarks, expressed optimism that Pakistan's football ranking would improve through consistent play and stressed the importance of addressing key issues to elevate the status of football in the nation.


    Mushtaq Ahmed commented 6 months ago

    میرے خیال سے پاکستان میں سب سے ذیادہ فٹبال کراچی میں اور کرکٹ لاہور میں کھیلا جاتا ہے کیونکہ ان دو شھروں کی آبادی سب سے ذیادہ ہے حکومت کو چاہئے کہ کراچی اور لاہور والوں کو ان کے پسندیدہ کھیلوں کے سہولیات مھیا کرے