August 15, 2018
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Despite many hindrances, the Leisure Leagues football tournament has been successful in sparking a new craze for football all over the country. The league kicked off last year and ended on 30th June, 2018. The champions were ICAW FC from Lahore who will now head over to Lisbon to represent Pakistan in a 32 team world cup.
The Leisure Leagues started with more than 1000 teams participating in it from all over the country. Around 10,000 players from different urban and rural areas played in the tournament. The league was initiated with matches where Ronaldhino and friends (Ryan Giggs, David James, Roberto Carlos, George Boateng, Robert Pires, Nicolas Anelka, and Luis Boa Morte) came to Pakistan.
The finalists of the Leisure Leagues tournament were Sharof Football Club from Quetta, FC Thunderbolt from Hyderabad, Shaheed Football Club, ICAW-FC from Lahore, Shinwari FC from Peshawar, Shaikhi Seven FC from Mardan, Red Devils from Islamabad & Khyber Muslim FC.
This tournament has surely helped in bringing up the real talent and has given an opportunity to young and dedicated football players. With very scarce national resources being allocated to sports in the country, it is a positive development that football is being promoted by private groups.
The CEO of Leisure Leagues tournament, Ishaq Shah, said:
“We have brought something truly unique to the football-loving youth of Pakistan and it’s great to see them respond in such enthusiastic fashion. Our job is to give them a platform – provide them with grounds that are of an international standard, provide them with footballs of the highest qualities as well as trained referees, while also having complete first-aid kits at hand in case an injury takes place. Our expectation is that our coming generations will use this platform to fulfil our nation’s dreams – we all look forward to the day when Pakistani Talent garnered via Leisure Leagues – dressed in green – will bring International Football glory back to Pakistan.”