Syed Akber Ali Wahidi buried in Karachi amid emotional scenes

Syed Akber Ali Wahidi (1957 - 2011)

Football journalist, writer, enthusiast, statistician, PFF Media Manager, father, husband, and brother Syed Akber Ali Wahidi was laid to rest at the graveyard of his native Khamosh Colony neighbourhood of Nazimabad, Karachi on Wednesday, 27 April 2011. Emotional scenes were witnessed during the funeral services as people from all walks of life, relatives, admirers, friends, and football lovers from across Pakistan paid their last respects to the great Akber Wahidi and mourned his loss with his grieving family.

Akber Wahidi was found dead in his hotel room in Faisalabad on morning of Monday, 25 April 2011. He was attending the closing stages of the 21st NBP National Football Challenge Cup 2011 on the personal invite of tournament organising secretary and PMC Athletico Faisalabad President, Rai Saif ur Rehman Bhatti. He was 53 years old.

Tributes flowed for the self-less dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and insistence of living a hermetic lifesyle by Akber Wahidi that had all his attention and focus on football only. On the special request of PFF President, Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, the Senior Vice President of both the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) and PFF Syed Khadim Ali Shah attended the funeral and paid glowing tribute to one of the unsung heroes of Pakistani football.

Khadim Ali Shah stated that Akber Wahidi’s loss is a great loss for Pakistani football. No one can replace someone like him and no one can even match the sheer eloquence and persistence shown by Akber Wahidi in letting every corner of Pakistan know about the state of football and footballers through his brilliantly written news reports that would be published in every major news outlet throughout the country. Khadim Ali Shah praised how Akber Wahidi kept football close to his heart and died in the line of duty for his love of the game, and rightly called him a legend of Pakistani football’s 62 year history. May his soul rest in peace and may Allah reward the late Wahidi with eternal bliss in the Afterlife as well as granting the mourning family the strength to cope with their loss.

Khadim Ali Shah personally gave his condolences to Akber Wahidi’s widow and gave the family a cash donation on behalf of whole PFF to help cover the expenses needed for the funeral and memorial services.

Others in attendance included PFF Director for Youth Development Siddique Sheikh, sports journalists Sardar Khan, Alam Zeb Safi, Ishaq Baloch, Tariq Aslam, Imtiaz Narinja, Anees Baig and Riaz Ahmed, Karachi Malir FA chairman Fateh Muhammad, ex-secretary Zone South FA Murad Bakhsh, FIFA Referee Shakoor Baloch, Secretary Referees Central Zone, Muhammad Shamim, ex-internationl Saleem Patni, Ibn Abbas, Khalid Majeed, Abdul Rasheed Khan, Abdul Ghani, Ghulam Mustafa, Shabir Qadri, Syed Usman Shah, Abdul Karim, Saleem Arif et al.

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KRL & Pakistan national team head coach Tariq Lutfi expressed his immense sadness on Akber Wahidi’s passing away and mentioned how despite winning the National Challenge Cup 2011 at Bohranwali Ground in Faisalabad, he cannot replace his sorrow about the passing away of a dear friend and colleague like Akber Wahidi. Similar sentiments were shared by PFF Director Operations, Wing Commander (retd) Pervez Saeed Mir, KESC head coach Hassan Baloch, and Saif Bhatti who were attending the final game won by KRL 1-0 over KESC.