Pakistan may be known as a cricketing nation but not many know that the soccer balls for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be imported from the 159th-ranked football nation. According to Brazilian Ambassador Alfredo Leoni, there is potential for cooperation between Brazil and Pakistan in terms of football coaching and training — a transfer of skills that might one day see the Pakistan national team qualify for the world’s biggest sporting contest.
Just three weeks before the global tournament begins in Brazil on June 12, the Brazilian embassy in Islamabad on Thursday continued its series of activities to celebrate the World Cup’s arrival with the inauguration of a football photo exhibition at the Marriott Hotel. Leoni said that the embassy helped send a Pakistani coach to Brazil for training two years ago. “We can perhaps send a team of footballers from Pakistan for training in Brazil and we are willing to collaborate”, he added.
The ambassador said it was a matter of “great pride” that the World Cup footballs were provided by a Pakistani company, giving Pakistan a “connection” with the global contest.
The official match ball for the competition, the Adidas Brazuca, has been produced by Forward Sports, a Sialkot-based football manufacturer.
Factory owner Khwaja Akhtar, who has made balls for the German Bundesliga, French league and the Champions League, is excited with the challenge of being a part of World Cup soccer history. Sialkot, a town in eastern Pakistan, was once the unassailable soccer ball production capital of the world — exporting about 30 million balls a year, an estimated 40 percent of global production — but India and China have recently caught up.
The Brazuca features a striking new design and new panel system. Six identical interlocking panels make up the ball’s synthetic surface, thermally bonded to keep out moisture.
The month-long tournament, which kickstarts on June 12, has 32 of the worlds best sides locking horns in the most watched event in sports.