RAWALPINDI – The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday held a reception for visiting Brazilian football celebrity Ronaldinho and other seven top footballers, ISPR statement said.
The COAS thanked the footballers for visiting Pakistan and maintained that Pakistan is a peaceful and sports-loving country as sports promote peace.
“Your visit is most welcomed by all Pakistanis especially young footballers,” COAS remarked.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) July 8, 2017
“Sports promote peace and your visit is most welcomed by all Pakistanis especially young footballers,” said the army chief.
رونالڈہینو اور دیگر ٹاپ فٹبالرز کی اسلام آباد آمد، اسلام آباد ائیرپورٹ سے براہ راست
Posted by Geo News Urdu on Friday, July 7, 2017
The Pakistan Army is providing security for the players and matches, deploying troops in and around hotels, airports and stadiums over the weekend, officials have said.
Seven top footballers from around the world, including Brazilian legend Ronaldinho and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for two exhibition matches.
Brazilian hero Ronaldinho, former Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs, former England goalkeeper David James, Dutch star George Boateng, former French players Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka, and Portuguese player Luis Boa Morte reached Islamabad early Saturday morning via a private jet.
Brazil and Real Madrid great Roberto Carlos did not travel with the group.
The foreign players have reached Karachi from Islamabad.
The lineup, of two teams dubbed ‘Ronaldinho-11’ and ‘Ryan Giggs-11’, is set to play with a group of Pakistani footballers for two seven-a-side matches in Karachi on Saturday and in Lahore on Sunday.
Pakistani football stars: Mohammad Rasool, Mohammad Essa, Aziz, Razik, Mohammad Adil, Adnan, Mohammad Ali and Ahmed along with foreign players: Nicolas Anelka, George Boateng and David James will play in the Ryan Giggs` team.
Meanwhile, Yousuf Butt, Saddam Hussain, Kaleemullah, Saadullah, Hassan Bashir, Riaz, Kamran along with Boa Morte, Robert Pires will feature in ‘Ronaldinho-11’.
Ronaldinho, 37, who won the World Player of the Year twice and was part of the 2002 World Cup winning team, said he is on a goodwill mission aimed at inducing youngsters to play the game.
“I am excited at the prospect of playing in Pakistan,” he said in a statement.
“This is a great opportunity for us to induce youngsters in Pakistan and we will do our best to do that.”
Giggs, who retired after a long career with United in 2014, said he was “privileged” to take part. He replaced former England and Chelsea captain John Terry, who pulled out due to new commitments with English side Aston Villa.