Footballers are keeping their hopes alive after heavy rains wreaked havoc in Karachi. The football community of Ibrahim Hyderi is particularly expressing optimism that their hardships will subside, and their homes and the Baloch Mujahid Stadium will be cleared of rainwater.
The record-breaking rain in Karachi has been nothing short of a plight for the residents of the metropolis.
The football communities of Ibrahim Hyderi and Malir are in the midst of turmoil as the Sindh Government has declared the areas calamity-hit.
More than 500mm rain has lashed Karachi this month, 230mm on Thursday alone, said the Pakistan Met office.
Meanwhile one of Karachi’s iconic and oldest football venues Baloch Mujahid Stadium in Ibrahim Hyderi has been submerged in rainwater much like the adjacent fisher folk community that lives around it.
The stadium serves as a top venue for the football-loving population of 2.5 lakh people in the community.
The ground was built in 1968 and has been kept alive and kicking since then by dedicated players and community, who have made sure that the venue stays in top condition throughout the year. But the rain has not been kind and the hope of football returning soon is stretching thin.
Baloch Mujahid FC official and manager Mehran Baloch said that the situation is dire with the community facing trouble in rainwater at homes and the condition of the stadium is also not good. “Government’s attention is required as the stadium needs rehabilitation and sponsors,” the official said.
“It was about Covid-19 throughout the year, we kept our stadium well-maintained, we didn’t play and most of the footballers within the community stayed home despite their love and passion for football. Now there was a little activity that was starting, but then the rain ruined everything.
“It is again going to be a struggle to go back to normal life, it will at least take a week or 10 days just to get the water out of the ground and we are working on our own. No one sponsors or helps us in anyway, it is just the players and the community and this stadium that is home to us,” he added.
Baloch Mujahid FC have more than 100 players in their junior teams all the way up to two senior teams that play tournaments for the club, with 25 players. However, Mehran reveals that all the players are involved in maintaining and taking care of the pitch and the ground.
“The players from the youngest ones in Under-eight to Under-10 age groups to our “A” team are all part of it, now we will have to take the water out too. This rain has been a challenge for us, it’ll take all our efforts, as much as we can do on our own, it will not be easy,” the manager said.
Mehran, however, feels that this is not just about football but they need to be a part of something bigger.
“We are one of the top clubs in the city, we have one of the best venues too, each of us feeling like we are a part of something bigger. This club was established, registered in 1968, our fathers and even grandfathers had been playing football here in this piece of ground that is now the Baloch Mujahid Stadium. It means that we need to take care of this ground as part of our lives and contribute better as a whole, this stadium is just like that. It inspires the youth in our community and keeps us grounded as most of us also go to the sea.”
He added that the last time Baloch Mujahid Stadium saw this much flooding was in 2006-7.
On the other hand, the club will be part of the upcoming elections for the Pakistan Football Federation’s Normalisation Committee on district and provincial levels.
Mehran believes that the administration of the club wants to support and see the best candidates. “We need people who can work for the sport and footballers in a positive way,” he concluded.