Michael Owen, Emile Heskey grace PFL launch

By our correspondent
LAHORE: The much-anticipated Pakistan Football League (PFL), the first ever franchise-based league in Pakistan’s football history, was on Tuesday officially launched here at a hotel with some of the former global football heroes also including the league’s global ambassador and former English striker Michael Owen and former English forward Emile Heskey were in attendance.
Set to be conducted in November this year, the eight-team league is being organized by the PFL UK Holdings led by its chairman and an English businessman of Pakistani origin Farhan Junejo.
Michael Owen was optimistic about the future of Pakistan football.
“I am very much excited about the future of Pakistan football,” Owen said while speaking at the PFL crowded launch ceremony.
“Two years ago I had come to Pakistan and was very impressed with the passion the people of Pakistan have for sports. And now after two years I have found their attitude very serious as what is going to happen,” Owen said.
He recalled that when he was offered to act as brand ambassador of the PFL three years ago he thought out and decided to take up this challenge.
Meanwhile the PFL chairman Farhan Junejo said that they are set to deliver.
“We are trying to deliver a good project. We promise our children in the next two to three years they will see infrastructure and opportunities to play football. We aim to give opportunities to Pakistani kids,” he said.
“We will reach out to every district of Pakistan and we are going to give away 100,000 footballs and kits to the kids,” Farhan said.
“Cricket is the most televised sport in Pakistan but football is the most played game here,” Farhan said.
“Such great people have come here to show that Pakistani kids have the right to play. I request the parents if their kids want to play football so go with them to the grounds and in future we will create good opportunities for them and provide them good infrastructure,” Farhan said.
“The 27-member foreign delegation is here and they want Pakistani kids to get opportunities to play football,” Farhan said.
PFL CEO and President Ahmer Kunwar said that the PFL was designed to see how productive football in Pakistan was.
“We are here to give players the opportunities to shine,” Ahmer said. He said that they aim to create a business model which will be sustainable and will develop the sport in the country.
UK Sport Export Champion Michael Farnan was also excited about the future of Pakistan football.
During the launch an agreement was also signed under which 100 Pakistani kids will be trained at the famous Benfica International Academy.
“100 Pakistani kids will be trained every year in Benfica academy,” PFL chairman Farhan said before formal signing.
“It will be a merit-based process and talented players will be sent from across the country and any kid which will have the capacity and talent will be sent to Benfica for training,” Farhan said.
Also in attendence were former France footballer Pascal Chimbonda, a former La Liga defender Raul Rodrigues, Steve Wood, who oversees Michael Owen’s global commercial activities; Adrian Bevington, a prominent English football’s most experienced senior Executive; Michael Knighton, a well-regarded English businessman who sat on the board of Manchester United, Carlo Mastellone, a former Italian footballer, Adolfo Guerro Gunther, Club Atletico de Madrid International Expansion Manager since 2016, Amando Moreno, a football director from Spain and has worked with Rafa Benitez, Davide Gomes, who served as the head coach of Benfica’s reserve team, Benfica B Luis Miguel De Sousa Santos Reis, a retired Brazilian footballer, Gustavo Amador Moure, a seasoned legal professional, Adrián Varela, President of International Relations at CA River Plate; Wilson Lotutala, the Marketing Director at FC Basel; Chris Kaufmann, the CEO of FC Basel 1893; Paul-David Matthias Erne, head of Recruitment at FC Lous Club in Major League Soocer, USA, Michael John Farnan, a British entrepreneur and the co-founder of Redstrike; Simon Bytheway, a senior executive at Redstrike; Glen Morgan and Ait-Ali Rabah and Ahmer Kunwar, president and CEO of PFL, PFL Technical Director Zabe Khan, Hadi Anwar, PFL Board member and Melanie Grace, the PFL Communication Director.
After spending time in Islamabad and Lahore the delegation will now move to Karachi to get involved in further activities on Wednesday (today).
An exhibition match is also on card at the newly restructured Kakri Ground Lyari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *