A positive point: the football industry in Pakistan



Sardar Muhammad Khattak

PAKISTAN has the unique honor of providing soccer balls for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup recently held in Russia and not having a team in the tournament very enjoyed and adored in world football. The latest Pakistan-made soccer ball is known as Telstar 18, which was made by Forward Sports Company, a well-known company in the city of Sialkot, famous all over the world for producing sporting goods. This time, Forward Sports was given the task of making the soccer balls for the big summer tournament.

The company is outsourcing the manufacture of global sportswear giant Adidas for which it manufactured the soccer balls for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Although it is not confirmed how many balls Adidas ordered for the Cup around the world, but the company makes about 700,000 a month.

When and how Sialkot first became famous for soccer balls is in itself very interesting. The history of soccer ball production dates back to the region’s British colonial era. The British who were very fond of football used to order their stock from Great Britain and sometimes got impatient with the waiting time for the balloons to be shipped by sea. It is said that in 1886 a British sergeant asked a saddler in Sialkoti to repair his punctured ball and impressed with his skills, he ordered a batch of soccer balls from him. Since then, the city has produced a significant share of soccer balls for the game, players and fans.

Traditionally, balloons were sewn by hand, but the seams and craftsmanship of the workers were so perfect that for the first time in 1982, the city of Sialkot was granted the exceptional honor of a contract to manufacture balloons from football for the 1982 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Spain. . The balls made by Pakistan for the 1982 FIFA World Cup were an improved version of the Adidas Tango ball, which was first introduced for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The World Cup ball 1982 was an improved version of the leather ball which was first introduced with rubber encrusted on the seams intended to prevent water from seeping in. Thus, it became the first water resistant ball for a World Cup. This was a much needed requirement as otherwise the ball would become heavier due to water seeping through the seams of the ball. But the rubber used to prevent water ingress would wear out from normal kicking and had to be replaced during the game. It turned out to be the last real leather soccer world cup.

The fame of suppliers of world-class soccer balls continued to bear fruit for some time. It can be mentioned here that Sialkot produces not only soccer balls but almost all kinds of sporting goods including cricket bats, balls and other accessories, lawn tennis, table tennis balls, various types of tennis, squash and badminton rackets and other sporting goods.

All the big giant international sports brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Select, Lotto, Umbro, Wilsons, etc. source soccer balls in this export-oriented city and a hub for the production of sporting goods. Most sporting goods are exported to foreign countries and a reasonable amount of foreign currency is earned in addition to providing jobs for thousands of workers in the country.

The current M / S Forward Sports company got the first order for itself and Pakistan in 1982 for the manufacture of the World Cup soccer balls in 1982, but had to wait 32 years for the second order. ‘Adidas for the supply of footballs for the FIFA World Cup. 2014. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Soccer was hosted by Brazil and the football designed for this cup was called Brazuca, which means Brazilian or Brazilian way of life. Brazuca was a revolutionary innovation with a revolutionary 6 panel design created for every player on the pitch. The ball featured six panels alongside a single surface that would provide improved grip, feel, stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.

The supply of soccer balls for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is what brought the Pakistan soccer industry back to the forefront. The new Telstar 18 soccer ball used in the 2018 World Cup is football at the cutting edge of technology. The use of technology in the manufacture of football has increased, and the demand from the global supplier has also become a reflection of the technological complications required in the manufacture of football, but Sialkot’s sports industry has not disappointed its customer.

Football is played fervently in Saudi Arabia, but it has undoubtedly become the most popular sport in the country. The participation of the Saudi Arabian soccer team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup has increased the craze for the game in the Kingdom. Pakistan is ready to meet the quality football needs for the FIFA World Cups and the brotherly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. – SG



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