Islamabad: Joining the coveted line up of international players in the “Ronaldinho and Friends’ squad coming to Pakistan in summer this year to play an exhibition match under Leisure Leagues is the former Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos as announced by Shahzeb Trunkwala, President World Group, in a ceremony held at Serena Hotel Islamabad.
Roberto Carlos is regarded as one of the top international footballers in the history of football. He is known for winning the second World Cup for Brazil and several titles for Real Madrid including La Liga and Champions League titles. In his video message Carlos thanked Mr. Mehmood Trunkwala, Chairman World Group, for the invitation and told the Pakistani footballers to be ready to play with him.
He said, “Ronaldinho is truly a friend of mine, not only since we won the World Cup together in 2002. When he told me about this fantastic project which is being organized by the World Group and the head of the organization Mr Mehmood Trunkwala, I had no hesitation in saying that I wanted to join the tour. Who knows, maybe ten years down the line scientists in Pakistan will be studying a goal I score on this tour!” Roberto Carlos said with a smile. “I am impressed that the World Group, together with Leisure Leagues, are so dedicated to Pakistani football development that they went to great lengths to organize the tour.”
UK’s largest amateur football league, Leisure Leagues, a company of World Group (Trunkwala’s), has announced a long term plan for all football enthusiasts to be part of their 5, 6 and 7-a-side football in Pakistan. Leisure Leagues Pakistan is a nationwide initiative of Trunkwala family to bring football in the country and create a platform for the local talent of Pakistan.
“We want to empower our local talent and create a platform that gives every individual a chance to play football and groom their skills. We want the youth of Pakistan to pursue their passion for football without any hardship and eventually to showcase their talents internationally”, Mr Mehmood Trunkwala, Chairman World Group said in his message.
COO Leisure Leagues Pakistan, Ishaq Shah said “Our aim is to ensure a nationwide platform for football players in Pakistan. We will provide the complete infrastructure to sustain football as a sport in Pakistan.” He assured the Ronaldinho & Friends is not just a one off thing and that Leisure Leagues have many such events planned for Pakistan.
Mr Shahzeb Trunkwala, President World Group, stated that the leagues would help players in Pakistan become international players, get scholarships in foreign varsities and placement opportunities abroad.
Mian Muhammad Soomro, Former President of Pakistan, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Global Patron in Chief of World Group present at the ceremony also lauded the efforts of Trunkwala family and termed the initiative as a game changer.
The Chief Guest, Riaz Hussain Pirzada said, “I congratulate Mr. Mehmood Trunkwala and Leisure Leagues and World Group team for taking this initiative. It is indeed a massive plan to have come from private sector and Government of Pakistan is ready to support it whole heartedly. It is a matter of immense pride to see such legendary international players coming to Pakistan to play with our local talent. This venture is of great patriotic value which will create opportunities for Pakistanis and soften the image of the country in the world.”
The event was attended by Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Shehnaz Shaikh, Olympian and former captain national hockey team, Brig Arif Siddique, Former Director Army Sports, Former DG Pakistan Sports Board, Javed Afridi, CEO Haier and owner of Peshawar Zalmi, Rasheed Junior, Olympian hockey player of Pakistan, fashion industry icons Humaima Malik and Imran Abbas and ambassadors and diplomats from several countries and many other dignitaries all appreciating the efforts being made by the World Group and Leisure Leagues to revive football in Pakistan.