Pakistan national football team captain and Tulsa Roughnecks striker Kaleemullah took to Total Football, Islamabad on Friday for a meet and greet session with hundreds of fans who gathered for one look of the former Sacramento Republic forward.
Kaleemullah had already held a session with his fans at Centaurus Mall a day before but still made the trip to Islamabad’s famous futsal pitch, much to the delight of everyone present. Kaleem started the session with a 6-a-side football match, where he was teamed up by members of FootballPakistan.com (FPDC).
The 20-minute long match was watched by a large number of people and Kaleemullah ably managed to surprise them all with his skills and unmatched pace, and was able to score a bunch of goals. 12-year old free-styler Raffay was also present at the auspicious occasion and once again left his fans spellbound with his breathtaking tricks. Kaleemullah didn’t disappoint his fans either and spent quality time with them signing shirts and taking pictures with them once the match was over. “I am what I am today because of my fans. They are my superstars,” he added.
After the match, Kaleemullah had an interview with Shahrukh Sohail, Chief Editor FPDC, where he answered various questions on his future aspirations. “I am looking forward to my stint with Tulsa Roughnecks this year. They have honoured me with the No. 10 shirt and feel I am the right man to score goals for them, so I hope I live up to their expectations.”
On FPDC’s Lahore correspondent Farid Khan’s question, Kaleemullah praised the efforts of FPDC in highlighting Pakistani football all over the world. “I have a lot of friends in the UK and in the UAE, and trust me, FPDC is very famous there. They often talk to me about the football stories on the page and about how well they are monitoring the football situation in the country.”
On another question, Kaleemullah urged the PFF to take drastic steps towards the betterment of football in the country. “Pakistan has a lot of footballing talent – probably the best in South Asia, but unfortunately the players here are not given ample exposure by the PFF and facilities, such as Total Football, are very rare in the country. For a country to do well there should be enough state-of-the-art grounds, which our country lacks. If that doesn’t happen, we cannot move up in the rankings.”
Lastly, he was asked about his future goals once he’s retired, to which he said, “I would want to serve my country as much as I can. Retiring is not an option right now, but I would like to open gates for young footballers here by opening different schools and academies.”
The USL season commences in February, before which Kaleemullah will tour Lahore and Karachi for media commitments and other events.
By: Farid Khan (FPDC Lahore Correspondent)