by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: Former England striker Michael Owen was excited to see the immense interest of Pakistan youth in football, saying that the country has all the potential to progress in the game.
Soon after his arrival in Islamabad, Owen held a media briefing in the company of Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar here at the Press Information Department Tuesday.
“I have big regard for Pakistani youth and their interest in the game of football, knowing well they are capable of making a name for themselves in the game. Pakistani youth loves the game of football and wants to excel in the game. The country has immense potential as the youth here love sports, be it football, cricket, or any other game.”
He added that his main focus would be to help the youth get the modern training and facilities to sharpen their skills. “We will help the youth to raise the standard of their game. It is our main objective,” he said.
Owen hoped that soon Pakistan players would be seen showcasing their talent in international leagues. “With latest training and facilities, Pakistan youth would soon be seen playing at the international stage.”
Earlier, Usman Dar welcomed Michael Owen in Pakistan, maintaining that the international megastar has lived up to his promise of touring Pakistan.
“Owen has fulfilled his promise. Now when he is here we hope that his presence and visit would help in popularizing the game of football in Pakistan. In fact, it will inject fresh interest amongst the youth.”
Dar added that the top 100 talented players would be picked and groomed in different sports. “These youngsters would be supported fully in order to get the required results. Top 20 players showing potential would then be sent abroad for further training and exposure.”
The PM Special Assistant said that the Talent Hunt programme is underway at 10 different centres of the country.
“The best 100 would be selected at end of trials. Every talented youth would cost the government around Rs1.3 million. In the future, we would spread this programme to other cities also. The programme is also aimed at providing jobs to the youth and helps them earn themselves recognition they deserve.”
Dar said that football has always been loved and cherished by the Pakistani youth. “We would make all possible efforts to hunt football talent. Now when we have sponsors with us, the best talent would be picked and groomed.”