Pakistan’s first Futsal arena ready

Syed Intikhab Ali [The News]

KARACHI: The development work on Pakistan’s first futsal arena has been completed and it would be inaugurated soon with the organisation of a local tournament.

It has been developed inside the Olympian Iftikhar Syed academy in Gulshan-e-Iqbal where facilities for various other sports are also available, including hockey at synthetic turf in floodlights.

The arena has been developed due to the fast increasing popularity of the game among the youth of Karachi. Around 32 teams participated in a recently held local futsal tourney at the basketball court in the same play ground.

Futsal is a variant of football played on a smaller pitch, usually indoors. It is played in 40 minutes time with halves of 20 minutes.

Olympian Iftikhar Syed, president of the academy, said that the floor of the fustal arena is fully marbled and two moveable goal posts have been installed at both side of the field. The arena is fully covered through a strong net to stop the ball from going outside the arena.

He said that the organisers previously used basketball court. A number of teams come here from across the city to participate in the competitions, he claimed.

Iftikhar said that president of Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) Wasay Jaleel had established the academy when he was Gulshan Town Nazim. Afterwards more facilities were developed at the place, he added.

Municipal commissioner District East Shafiqur Rehman and MPA Muzamil Qureshi of Gulshan-e-Iqbal also played a major role in the development of the futsal arena.

But due to lack of support from the Pakistan Football Federation, the game has not been established on strong foundations in the country so far. PFF has failed to establish its futsal and beach football teams despite FIFA’s strict directives to develop national beach football and futsal teams.

KMC sports department is planning to organise a big futsal championship and has invited local clubs to participate in it.

KMC sports officer Jamil Ahmed confirmed that KMC has finally decided to organise a futsal championship and they have started preparation for it. But he avoided disclosing dates for the championship.