Sports

LAHORE – Lahore goes into football history books with the visit of Brazilian football star Ronaldinho and a galaxy of the former top notch players of the game who will be playing a football match on July 9 at the Fortress Stadium.


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The match is of great significance, being the first ever high-profile football activity to be staged in the provincial capital, attracting former super stars and top class football players of the country.

Brazilian football celerity Ronaldinho will be accompanied by Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning teammate, Roberto Carlos, former French mid fielder Robert Pires, France’s Nicolas Anelka, Portugal’s Luis Boa Morte, Holland’s George Boateng, England’s David James and former Manchester United player Ryan Goggs.

The two-match series with the first game slated for July 8 at Karachi has been named “Leisure Leagues Pakistan” and the tour has been arranged by World Group led by Mahmood Trunkwala.

“It is the first ever football event of our country in which football stalwarts will be showcasing their talent and technique at Karachi and Lahore”, Mehmood told APP on Wednesday.

He termed the visit of the top class footballers to Pakistan a “history-making” visit which will give a new identity to Pakistan in sports, and would help to create a soft image of the country.

“It is a way forward to re-establish Pakistan’s name as a country which is safe to hold top class sports events”, he said.

COO Leisure Leagues, Ishaq Shah believes the tour will help in many ways to promote football in Pakistan.

“Nobody can believe that world known footballers will be visiting Pakistan but it is going to happen in a few days and we will be having football fervour from one part of the country to another and by that way, football will bring further closer the people of Pakistan forging national unity”.

He said football passion is greater in Lahore as compared to Karachi and youth is taking keen interest to follow football.

“Lahore is the hub of sports activities and new football history will be written with the holding of this match and we expect a large audience to witness the football stars in action”, he asserted.

The matches will be played under lights. The foreign footballers will be arriving Islamabad on July 8 morning and from there they will be flying to Karachi before meeting the Army Chief.

The match will be seven or six a side fixture to be played on July 8 evening at Abdul Sattar Edhi hockey stadium Karachi.

Ronaldinho will lead one team and Ryan Giggs will captain the other side. Both the teams will be a mix-up of foreign and local players.

For home players, it will be the most valuable and memorable moment of their lives and football career as they will be rubbing shoulders with those top of line football players whom they have seen playing on TV.

Besides, it will be contribute to the learning of Pakistani players. “It is a matter of pride for them and our country to be a part of teams which will be beaming with those players who have their own class in football which is evident from their illustrious past and current standing in the game”, said Model Town football academy President, Mian Rizwan Ali while talking to APP. Ronaldinho will also be inaugurating a football academy being setup in DHA Lahore.-APP