Chitral, Pakistan: The scenic landscapes of Chitral came alive with a glorious celebration of football as the ‘Shuhada-e-Chitral Premier Football League 2023’ reached its exhilarating climax this month. The final match, held on October 24, 2023, featured the showdown between Goldur FC and DFA Peshawar, with the Chief Guest Major General Noor Wali Khan, Inspector-General of the Frontier Corps KPK (North), adding prestige to the event.
A Tribute to the Heroes of Chitral
The tournament was not just about football; it was a tribute to the martyrs of a Taliban attack in Chitral that occurred in September 2023. The event was aptly branded as the Shuhada-e-Chitral Premier League to honor these brave souls. The presence of dignitaries such as; the DFA Chitral Principal and Chitral Premier League Patron, Deputy Commissioner Lower Chitral Muhammad Ali Khan, and many others underscored the significance of this heartfelt tribute. Kohat Cement acted as Gold Sponsors of the event, whereas Millat Tractors were Silver Sponsors.
Athscape, CoPilot Cares, Vesta, and Vision served as supporting partners of the tournament
The Thrilling Final Showdown
The final match was nothing short of a nail-biter, with both teams displaying exceptional skills and determination. Goldur FC, the only Chitrali team in the semifinals, secured their place in the final by defeating DFA Lower Dir 2-0. Meanwhile, the other semifinal saw DFA DI Khan taking on DFA Peshawar.
In the hotly contested final, Goldur FC emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win, thanks to a goal from Sajid. The intensity of the match and the roar of the crowd added to the grandeur of the event.
The tournament bestowed well-deserved recognition upon exceptional individuals, affirming their outstanding contributions to the world of football. Anhar, originally hailing from
DFA Chitral as a DFA Chitral stalwart, but showcasing his prowess in the ranks of DFA Peshawar, earned the coveted Golden Boot accolade, a testament to his talent goal-scoring prowess. Syed Azhar, a DFA Chitral player who donned the colors of Goldur FC, was rightfully adorned with the Golden Gloves, symbolizing his exceptional goalkeeping skills. The title of Player of the Tournament found its worthy recipient in Saqib Nizam, a DFA Chitral player who, with his remarkable journey originating from Bilal Mumtaz’s football camps in 2011, captured the hearts of football enthusiasts. Lastly, Sajid of Goldur FC, the luminous star of the championship match, was acknowledged as the Man of the Final.
Not only did these gifted individuals secure their place in local football’s hall of fame, but they also proudly hoisted the Winner Trophy, while the runners-up were equally honored with the Runner-Up Trophy and medals, signifying the sportsmanship and valor that graced this remarkable event.
Rewarding the Champions
Apart from the glory of victory, the champions received a cash prize of 150,000 PKR. The runners-up, DFA Peshawar, were not left empty-handed and were rewarded with a substantial prize of 100,000 PKR.
A Visionary’s Journey
Behind this grand spectacle is Bilal Mumtaz, an entrepreneur with an unquenchable passion for football. Bilal’s love for the game was ignited during his 2011 trip to Chitral, where he organized football camps for local schools, which was repeated in 2017. Over the years, his commitment to charity work and football merged, leading to the first-ever floodlit football match in 2019.
In 2020, tragedy struck Bilal’s family with the demise of his father, Nadeem Ahmed Mumtaz, who co-founded the Langlands School Endowment Trust for operating the eponymous Langlands School and College in Chitral – Major GD Langlands, it’s founding principal, was a teacher of Nadeem’s at Aitchison College
To honor his father’s memory, Bilal held a NAM Memorial Youth Championships in 2021 and a NAM Memorial Super Cup that same year, both of which continue to this day. In December 2021, a combined DFA Chitral Team comprising of 7 of his trainees from his 2011 and 2017 camps became champions of the Ufone KPK-Balochistan Championships out of 71 districts in both provinces.
Bilal’s dedication to nurturing local talent and securing vital sponsorships resulted in the birth of the Chitral Premier League. This year, the ‘Shuhada-e-Chitral Premier Football League’ became a heartfelt tribute to the martyrs of the Taliban attack in Chitral in 2023.
More Than Just a Tournament
The ‘Shuhada-e-Chitral Premier Football League 2023’ transcends the realm of a mere football tournament; it stands as a profound testament to the unwavering dedication of Bilal and his team, who have tirelessly toiled to nurture the very essence of football at the grassroots level while paying heartfelt tribute to the valiant heroes of Chitral. This grand event served as a unifying platform, uniting 12 local teams, four district teams, and four government agency teams, collectively illuminating the region’s unbridled passion for the beautiful game.
Within Bilal, Chitral has discovered an undying champion for its football aspirations. This event, a labor of love and commitment, symbolizes an enduring pledge to this exquisite region and the sport that harmoniously binds its people together. It narrates a tale of boundless passion, dedication, and the transformative influence of the beautiful game of football.