ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Tuesday said that the youth’s engagement in sports activities would lead the country towards a bright future besides teaching them discipline and teamwork.
The president, addressing the launching ceremony of Global Soccer Ventures (GSV) in Pakistan to promote football game, said the country’s 68% youth below 30 of age needed sports facilities, employment opportunities, and skill set to excel.
The event was attended by Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, SAPM Usman Dar, GSV’s Official Ambassador Michael Owen, CEO of GSV Zabe Khan and Group Chairman Yasir Mahmood.
The president said the youth engagement in sports was also vital to protect them against social evils like drugs by providing them a healthy environment to live in.
He said the GSV was bringing about a great opportunity for the country’s youth at a time when there was a dearth of infrastructure for the football game despite immense potential in the country.
He said the countries which provided all required facilities to the sports excelled in the sector and also recalled Pakistan’s history which produced legends of squash and hockey in the past.
The president said that increasing the viewership was also equally essential to lead towards the provision of facilities as well as generate revenue in the sports field and exemplified Pakistan Super League which had emerged as an international brand.
Calling football the cheapest game requiring a simple purchase of football, the president said all it needed was proper playgrounds which had unfortunately shrunk due to massive urbanization.
He said in order to attract more and more viewership, the world was introducing shorter and easy-to-understand formats in different games like cricket and squash.
The president also spoke high of Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza and SAPM Usman Dar for their utmost efforts to create sports opportunities for the country’s youth.
Federal Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza said the incumbent government was committed to promote sports and develop football grounds to provide the required opportunities for the youth.
She said the launch of GSV was a proactive step to support the football game and lauded GSV for taking a special interest to train Pakistani youngsters and provide them an opportunity to play in the international clubs.
She also emphasized the role of the private sector in uplifting the sports sector which had no border and also could also play a role in peace and understanding among nations.
Michael Owen, a former English footballer and ranked by FIFA among 100 world’s greatest living players in the current era, in his address, said having come to know the GSV, it was his immediate interest to promote the game in Pakistan as, for him, it was time to give back.
He committed to helping improve football standards in Pakistan and train Pakistani youth, who he said, deserved an opportunity.
Calling football the greatest game, he said there was so much passion for the game all around the world. On Wednesday, Michael Owen will officially hold a groundbreaking ceremony to unveil Pakistan’s first-ever Soccer City in Karachi.
In 2009, Owen joined Manchester United and Stoke City in 2012 where he retired after a season.
CEO Zabe Khan said the GSV was aimed to identify and develop players from the grass-roots while they continue their education.
GSV Group Chairman Yasir Mahmood said, there were over 40 million football lovers in the country but with the passage of time, they lost their interest owing to lack of facilities. He said by providing them proper training and facilities, it was time to bring the kids to grounds to develop healthy minds for a brighter future of the country.