FPDC Tales: Hammad Haider, ”FOOTBALL IS MY LIFE”

By Hammad Haider, Lahore

Sports occupy a very important and vital place in my life. I am a total sports fanatic and without sports I would not be the same person that I am right now. The biggest torture for me would be to be deprived of sports. There is no day in my life when I don’t watch or play them. Even in the busiest times I am able to take out few minutes to relax myself by watching or playing some games. The biggest source of relaxation for me is sports. I am not interested in movies, I am not much into literature, I do not like roaming around without any purpose, all I am interested in is sports. And what a great interest that is.

That being said, but my true love is football. Although this sport is not that famous in Pakistan but around the world it is the most played and watched sport. I once read in the newspaper that approximately three billion people watched the 2006 FIFA world cup final that means half of the earth’s population. This figure is astonishing and it took me by surprise and it truly reflects the popularity of this beautiful game.

As I grew up, like most of the children in Pakistan the sport that I mostly got to witness was cricket. This cricket mad nation made a cricket lover as well. When I was around eight or nine years old, I could play good enough cricket and used to spend almost three to four hours daily in my backyard playing cricket with my siblings. Such was my enthusiasm for cricket that my aunt dubbed me as ‘Imran Khan’. At that stage of my life I did not get a proper chance to watch or play football as it was quite rare in this country. In 1998 the world cup fever did grip us but it was soon gone once the world cup was over. I became a true football fan in the summer of 2000 when I watched each and every match of the European Championships. After that I followed the biggest leagues of Europe and my interest for football soon changed into craze. The football fanaticism engulfed my friends as well and together we became true football lovers. In the next few years cricket had gone a step down to second in my favorite sports.

Towards the end of my school days I started playing football regularly, I and my friends formed a team and we used to play quite often. That was the first step towards me becoming a pretty good football player. We took part in various tournaments and did pretty well by winning bronze twice. Not only this, I won various tournaments with my school team as well. With time I got better and better but unfortunately I could not join my college team due to the busy schedule.

In the summer vacations though I continued football and enjoyed some terrific moments with my team. My greatest football moment came in my university intra-LSE futsal tournament 2010 in which I scored a hat-trick in the semi-final against a very strong opposition and scored twice in the final to win the championship. Although I have won quite a few tournaments with my school but that futsal tournament was something special and I cherish those wonderful moments. I would also like to mention my greatest football inspiration who is Francesco Totti, who is like an idol to me. I have always tried to copy his style of play although that is quite difficult to do but still I give it a shot.

I have great affection for the game of football in my heart and will always have it. Not only it is a beautiful in the sense that even the poorest people in the world can play and enjoy but also in the sense that it is perhaps the healthiest sport in which your entire body is worked. I would love to see this sport flourish in our country and I am ready to do whatever I can for the betterment and promotion of football in Pakistan. Football Zindabad, Pakistan Zindabad!