FootballPakistan.Com (FPDC) senior journalist Riaz Ahmed in his extensive Lahore visit also met renowned football promoter and official Mian Rizwan Ali, President of his beloved Model Town Football Club (MTFC) and Academy (MTFA) as well as incumbent President of DFA (District Football Association) Lahore.
In a thorough interview, Mian Rizwan Ali discussed some of the various controversies and problems facing football across Lahore district. He stated that disputes over his DFA Lahore election win in early 2011 has badly affected the game’s running across Lahore. Various football clubs have taken their disputes with DFA Lahore to the courts. The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has also not been able to resolve these disputes which has made former DFA Lahore president Tanveer Zia Butt take the matters to the local courts.
The DFA Lahore president stated that his election win is officially recognised by the PFF and they cooperate with DFA Lahore to organise major events. Out of 39 eligible club votes, 24 of them chose Mian Rizwan in elections to win the DFA Lahore presidency.
Mian Rizwan agreed that such politicisation of football has badly damaged the peoples game in Lahore and has had a grave impact on its organisation in the district. However, he revealed that a meeting is being planned with the warring party and was confident of reaching a compromise and out of court settlement to get things back to normal. Mian Rizwan feared that further clash of egos can further damage the sport in Lahore as well as rest of Pakistan.
Mian Rizwan spoke of his acheivement in re-unifying factions within the Lahore District Football Referees Association (DFRA) by making Sufi Anees chairman, Akhundzada Issa Khan senior vice-president, and Tariq as secretary to make all 40 official Lahore referees fall under one Lahore DFRA body.
On topic of future plans, Mian Rizwan told FPDC’s Riaz Ahmed that his top priority is to form an offical district general league structure featuring all 60 affiliated clubs across DFA Lahore. Of the 60 clubs, 39 have right of vote, 11 have playing right, and 10 clubs recently gained new registration. He told his plans of dividing the teams into A, B, and C category district league levels. Winners of the A Division district league shall be official football champions of Lahore.
Mian Rizwan also named 5 venues that will host the district league matches across Lahore with Faisal Town, Railways Stadium, R.A. Bazar, Minto Park, and MTFA Ground included. The DFA Lahore president also spoke of his desire to computerise not only the whole district club records but also issue computerised ID cards for the registered district players as well.
On his own renowned Model Town FC and Academy setup, Mian Rizwan said that 2200 young kids are registered with MTFA with nearly 60% of the kids receiving free coaching from its qualified coaching staff. He said that MTFA employs 22 staffers with Shafiq-ur-Rehman being the general manager. Mian Rizwan expressed his desire to emulate the Karachi United Academy in its tremendous grassroots development programs across Karachi and become a similar entity for all of Lahore. He said that Lahore is not fortunate enough to have enough football-friendly sponsors as Karachi does.
Mian Rizwan also spoke about his newly-formed NGO called Model Town Adventure Club that is now affiliated with both the PFF and Asian Football Confederation (AFC). He hope his NGO can help promote football better in Lahore and help MTFA improve even further.
The MTFA supremo also said he will never forget the contributions of the late Syed Akbar Ali Wahidi, former PFF Media Manager and renowned football journalist of Pakistan, who was also one of the founding members of Model Town Football Academy.
Mian Rizwan thanked FPDC correspondent Riaz Ahmed for meeting him in his comprehensive Lahore visit and praised him for having tremendous knowledge and insight on not just Karachi football but also Lahore football as well and regarded him as a vital asset for Pakistani football. He paid glowing tribute to Riaz Ahmed’s selfless work at the Karachi United Football Foundation (KUFF) and praised the leadership and vision Karachi United directors Taha Alizai, Imran Ali, and Adeel Rizki that have made their football academy the best in Pakistan.
Mian Rizwan also had special praise for the FootballPakistan.Com (FPDC) team, led by webmaster Malik Riaz Hai Naveed and chief editor Ali Ahsan, that has won the hearts of football lovers not just in Pakistan but around the world. FPDC’s efforts to become a treasure chest for Pakistani football events, knowledge, and information have made it an integral part of Pakistani football and Mian Rizwan Ali hoped that FPDC will acheive more success with time.