Street Child World-Cup
Well it was not the FIFA World cup butâ€¦it was something equally spectacular! A team of young street children have proved their mettle by clinching the â€˜bronzeâ€™ and bringing accolade to the name of Pakistan.
How it Started
The Street Child World Cup is an international platform that advocates the rights of children living in the streets. It was initiated by a charity based in the UK called Amos Trust. The first football tournament was held at Durban, South Africa in 2010. Each team had 9 members, 6 boys and 3 girls, aged between 14 and 16 years. The second was held this April in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where 230 children from 19 countries participated. This time there were separate teams for boys and girls. A festival of arts and conference has also taken place alongside on both occasions.
The Pakistani Team
The team comprises of Faizan Fayyaz, Mehr Ali, Sameer Ahmed, Aurangzeb Baba, Abdul Raziq, Owais Ali, Salman Hussain, Rajab Ali and Muhammad Shoaib. Fayyaz is from Quetta while the others are from Karachi. They were top of the group in the preliminary round. Then they won the quarter-final against Philippines on penalties but lost the semi-final against Burundi. However they beat USA on penalties to win third place. Their achievement has also won them a place in the hearts of the nationâ€¦
In May a ceremony was held at the Embassy of Brazil in Islamabad, to honor the young players. Ambassador Alfredo Leoni commended the teamâ€™s performance and distributed shields and gifts among them. He also praised the commitment of organizations such as Mashal Model School, Rah-e-Amal, Luttuce Bee Kids, Muslim Hands and Azad Foundation in supporting street children. Representatives of each were present on the occasion as well as John Wroe, who is the CEO of Street Child United.
These days the team is busy touring the country to create awareness among other children and to motivate them. Also a few of the players would be sent to UK for further coaching, and there is a possibility that foreign coaches would be invited to Pakistan as well. So the success story of football in our country has just begun.
More Reasons to be Proud â€“ Making Our Presence Felt at FIFA
The Brazuca â€“ Official Football of FIFA
This year it is a Pakistani company â€“ â€˜Forward Sportsâ€™ that has produced the soccer ball for the Football World Cup 2014. Known as the â€˜Brazucaâ€™Â (which is an informal term for â€˜Brazilianâ€™) it comes with an eye-catching new design and panel system. Around 3000 balls have been supplied for the event. In the past this company has also provided balls for tournaments such the German Bundesliga, French league and Champions League. Sialkot is manufacturing 50-70% of the worldâ€™s demand for hand stitched footballs (depending on market fluctuation). All international labels like Nike, Adidas, Umbro, Puma and many others get their supply from this city. It was actually in 1982 that Sialkot got worldwide recognition, when the â€˜Tango Ballâ€™ was used in the FIFA World cup held that year.Â
Becoming Member of FIFA Disciplinary Committee
An official of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Syed Nayyar Hasnain has been elected to the Disciplinary Committee (the most important committee of world football as it regulates all imperative issues) of FIFA after getting a majority of votes, at the FIFA congress that was held at Mauritius in May. He has been on the Disciplinary Committee of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the past four years as well. So FIFA has officially started and there are thousands of football enthusiasts in our country who have been eagerly waiting for it to begin. However this time there is a greater reason for excitement and also a glimmer of hope â€“ that one day Pakistan would be playing the World Cup too.