by Abdul Mohi Shah
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar and former tear-away fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar were unanimous in declaring that Pakistan has become a one-sport nation.
On the occasion of Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) Next Generation launching ceremony at a local hotel here Monday, Dar highlighted the poor state of sports infrastructure in the country, saying that 94 percent of youth does not have access to sports facilities.
“That is a huge percentage. We would make sure that the majority of our youth have access to grounds and other sports facilities. We will guide and help them to become future sports stars.” Usman announced that over Rs4 billion would be spent on developing sports facilities for the youth.
“That would be apart from the sponsorship which we will get for Olympic sports. For the last one decade, the GSV has been trying to support soccer in the country but there were many hurdles. Now we have decided to help them unearth football talent by guiding those youngsters to become part of European Club teams.”
Usman Dar hoped that the efforts would be put in by the government to popularise the Olympic sports in the country. “The game of cricket has overshadowed all other sports. Every youngster wants to become a cricketer though teenagers have shown immense talent in soccer, they usually leave their efforts midway having no future insight.”
Shoaib was also critical of the increasing impact of cricket on other sports. “We have virtually become a one-sport (cricket) country. Our youngsters don’t see any future in other sports. We must work for the uplift of other sports in real terms.”
The Rawalpindi Express kicked off a life changing career opportunity for 20 super talented Pakistani football players. The trials offered the very first UEFA scouting assessment on national level in Pakistan by organising trials in 10 cities across 11 venues to subsequently offer life-changing careers through professional football contracts in Ireland.
The tour also includes four master classes in Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta, and Lahore to develop local football coaching expertise to European standards under St. Patrick’s Football Club development programme.
There are 15-25 coaches selected on merit to take master classes to help up-skill their football coaching methods and transfer skills so they become certified train-the-trainers in Pakistan leaving a sustainable roll-out plan under Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive.