For The Love Of Football! “Football In Pakistan Has No Future, You’re Making A Mistake”

For the love of Football! “Football in Pakistan has no future, you’re making a mistake”

“Football in Pakistan has no future, you’re making a mistake.” This was the one sentence young Jadeed Khan always heard when he told anyone that he wanted to be a professional footballer when he grows up

Islamabad (Pakistan Point News - 7th Aug, 2019) “Football in Pakistan has no future, you’re making a mistake.” This was the one sentence young Jadeed Khan always heard when he told anyone that he wanted to be a professional footballer when he grows up.

While his own family mocked him for his ambitious goals, the only man who stood for him and showed some support was his own father. Jadeed’s father was also extremely fond of the sport but he was unable to fulfill his dream and sacrificed it to raise his 12 children. Through Jadeed he could see his dream becoming a reality as his son not only had the passion but the perseverance to tread onto the path of glory.

Although Jadeed almost had a dozen siblings but he was the only one amongst them who loved football. The young lad used to play for hours in the dilapidated streets of Chaman, often forgetting that there was any life beyond the game. There weren’t too many ideals to follow or any coaches from whom he could get formal training but there was a burning desire in his heart to prove his talent to the world and represent Pakistan.

His desire finally transformed into reality when in 2005, Jadeed played his first professional tournament which was the U18 National Football Tournament held in Abbottabad. Destiny was on his side this time and his team managed to win the championship after which they went to play in Kyrgyzstan. The young Jadeed Khan thought this to be the zenith of his career and only success shall follow from hereon but disappointment struck when opportunities did not come along in the same way.

Lack of recognition, little financial support from authorities and absence of infrastructure made things tough for Jadeed. Even his brothers insisted upon him leaving football and opt for a suitable job if he wanted a peaceful life. However, Jadeed was a warrior at heart, giving up was not an option for him therefore he decided rather than giving up, he should push himself further. After the U18 championship, he went to play the Afghan league where he shined through. In Pakistan Premier League, he scored 25 goals in 26 matches, giving a stand out performance and securing runners up position for his team. Despite a series of great performances and unprecedented amount of talent, the difficulties still did not end completely.

The tables turned for this zesty mid fielder when he was given the opportunity to lead his own team in Ufone Football Championship in Balochistan last year. “The tournament was a game changer for me, we had never played 11 set matches at night, everything seemed unreal.” said Jadeed with delight. For the longest time a domestic tournament on this scale had not been arranged in Balochistan, neither authorities nor private corporations took interest in the game because the main focus had always been cricket. This was the first time a national brand single handedly arranged a grand scale tournament for youngsters. 720 young footballers from 48 different tournaments played in the tournament. It gave a chance to football fanatics of Loralai, Khuzdar, Noshki, Chaman and Pishin.

It went onto be the most memorable tournament for Jadeed because it was under his captaincy that his team Chaman FC won the championship. “We celebrated for a long time because it was a huge victory for us and a special one, the facilities provided, the tough competition, everything about Ufone ‘s football championship was top notch which helped us to grow as players as well.” said Jadeed.

Now as he enters his 30s, Jadeed looks forward to training a fresh lot of footballers. He still aims to play for the country for at least 3 more years but after that his focus will definitely be coaching the young guns. A father of two, Khan wants his son to play football one day and make a mark for himself. Although the ambience today is not feasible for the sport but Jadeed is hopeful that in the coming years the situation will improve. In his opinion if the corporate sector continues to take interest in the same manner and conducts local leagues frequently then the future is surely bright.