Pakistan Premier Football League, the last game of the controversial 2018-19 season. A season-finale to which I remember only because of a Careem driver Zahir Shah sharing this name with the newly formed Vice President of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and the President of the Football Association of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the football lover Community of Karachi That would stay to see whole games, even of the departmental teams that are not located in the province.
I should talk about the statistics of the Pakistani Premier Football League, about the winners and losers, but it’s about longing and betrayal. It’s also about you if you’re a Pakistani football fan, a former or an aspiring player, and how federations can fail a whole community just by not doing what they’re supposed to do.
It all started with a sullen conversation about how to take the best route to one of the oldest stadiums in Karachi, KPT Football Stadium.
On Jan. 13, 15,000 spectators witnessed the final crucial game between Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), who were more of the Karachites than a sort of ode to the game itself.
As clueless as Zahir was after a little debate on which way to go, I finally asked him if he liked football at all. There he opened the Pandora box with stories from the 80’s and how football in his area was a religion.
He played for Baloch Muhammadan FC, a club that he says has only younger boys and has died over the years due to a lack of player opportunities.
“I played football myself,” Zahir said. “I also wanted to become a footballer, very seriously, the sport was a way to thrive, I trained with my club everyday, we had local tournaments, there were huge reasons to play, but then I hit an accident and broke both my legs. My patella was broken, so I quit. It was hard. It was heartbreaking. “
While keeping him up to date on the teams, he wildly suspected that KRL might win, but mostly, if reluctantly, he added that it was the growing interest in the communities where football was playing Most squat, even in the departments The national league system gave one of his teammates and friend Jameel Gul opportunities.
“I can tell you that football in Karachi is still everywhere and growing. It’s just older people like me who may not have to devote time anymore because we have to earn money, but Gul made such an example from my environment, he played for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and I even believe that she once in the national team have gone, “said Zahir.
But he regrets the fact that players are usually forgotten as Gul, who is now old and removed from football, is in the dark. We could not find his record in the national team because the PFF has no database of departmental or club players.
However, two others confirmed that Gul was playing for PIA, the division’s top division, in the club’s peak days, who then won nine titles of the now defunct National Football Championship and represented the country at the Asian Club Championships (now Asian). Confederation (Champions League) 1986 and 1991.
Throughout the trip, he would tell me that he has taken the shorter path and that we will not be late, but it was the silence in between, which was significant, as this would become the precursor to more information.
Zahir experienced the beautiful football game in his youth in the 80s and said he played until 1988-89. However, the lack of reasons and no work of the government or the PFF has also deterred diehard fans and aspiring players from the game.
“I was away from everything,” Zahir said abruptly. “I do not know much now. But they built a big school, the school chapter of Pakistan Air Force City, in a country where we played football, where my club players would go. They made a housing company, a noble, on the rest of the country. How will we play? There is no support for the players. But I was away from it all. “
By now we had almost reached the stadium and I could only offer him to come with me. The game was open to all.
And he came with some hesitation. “I’ll park the car, I’ll just stay for a bit, I’ll have to go again,” Zahir exclaimed.
I just left him on the other side of the grandstand, hoping he could enjoy something he had known in the past.
The game was a crackling win for KRL, who scored her fifth PPFL title as an outsider with at least four goals and one goal. The SSGC could not convince, although he only had to win 1-0.
The Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Commission, dr. Fehmida Mirza, talked about how the government wants to take the sport seriously. The new president of the PFF, who was elected by the Supreme Court election, Ashfaq Hussain Shah, promised to revive football and make the Federation corrupt.
I met with the Bronze Medalists of the Street Children’s World Cup 2014, which were exploited by the Azad Foundation. They told me that they supported SSGC as one of their players, Razik Mushtaq, for the department, and just turned around to find Zahir again.
He was happy, his face was a little wrinkled as I saw him some time ago, because he smiled and a broad. “Do you want a drop back?” He asked. “I stayed until the end.”
My obvious question was that he should not get into trouble, which was not a problem for him, and more trips for the day he said he would come if fate allowed, but he wanted to stay.
While I still took the time to wander around the stadium making comments, he was always waiting – listening to the officials and absorbing the atmosphere.
He seemed to be at home because the spectators at the KPT Stadium were either small children, teenagers, boys between the ages of 20 and 30, older men all gathering on a Sunday, taking a break from life and watching most of the game from the working class.
On the way back, I could not help but ask what was holding him back, and he replied, “I’ll be 50 years old. I have not felt upset in the last three decades. I had just left football. I’m still watching the World Cup, but I left because I thought there was nothing left. “
When I got out, he refused to take the fare and said, “Madam, aap samajti nahi hain, main kisi wajah se nai le raha paise. App Samjhain. Bohat Shukriya. Yaad Taza Hogai. (Woman, you do not understand, there is a reason why I do not charge you for the trip, it was like a journey through memory).
However, on the whole, I wondered if companies like Careem and other companies can now save football, especially in Karachi. The new executive body of the PFF has already stated that no funds will be forthcoming from Fifa or the AFC as both international bodies reject the recognition of the new PFF president and consider the new elections as “third-party intervention”.
FIFA plays the worst role she can. According to Hayat, Hayat has repaid the funds indicated, and there is no money or support for the new PFF, which appears promising in contrast to Hayat’s administration.
Hayat had chased off the sponsors during his 15-year PFF presidency very deterrent. The world’s highest-grossing sport was still his personal business, and the price for it is paid by the fans, the players and even the coaches, all who love football.
Maybe this can be a start for something new, and I hope that this piece can at least give private companies the impression that football plays an important role. It is also an important part of social development, and this must be promoted especially now. There are also new faces at the PFF.
The PFF needs sponsors to drive it forward, especially to the point where it does not rely on at least the funds of Fifa or AFC to organize the events or send teams for international matches.
Hopefully, Fifa could send a normalization committee to end the misery on an official level and let the sport flourish instead of letting Hayat run for the Fifa Council in the upcoming elections.
Even if the Fifa bans Pakistan for a while, the fact remains that the sport will not stop. The PPFL winners will not participate in the AFC Cup as PFF’s incompetence under Hayat failed to license the clubs, but the game can thrive in their own country.
For at least the past three years, Hayat has hosted the participation of football teams in international events by working with non-Lahore High Court appointed supervisors, and local football has been held.
Even after Hayats PFF resumed in March 2018, they did the national football activities as they pleased and did not plan the National Women’s Championship and other events professionally.
Even the PPFL was complained of an inadmissible qualifying round that promoted four teams of the Pakistan Football Federation League (Division B).