SIALKOT: Pakistan may not be a participant in the world’s grand sporting event – FIFA World Cup 2018 – but Pakistanis still have some reason to rejoice.
Almost 200 million Pakistanis will feel their presence in the mega event after Pakistan’s famous footballs will be used in the World Cup matches.
It was also confirmed by Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov that his country was going to use Pakistan-made footballs for the World Cup matches.
Pakistan is currently ranked 198th nation in the international football rankings.
Workers at a local sports company in Sialkot – which is a contracting manufacturer of global sports brand Adidas – are working extra hours to ensure on-time delivery of the footballs.
According to Husnain Cheema, president of the Pakistan Sports Goods Association, the country will export around 10 million footballs across the world this year.
The city has been famous for producing finest quality sports goods and has been supplying footballs for mega events for a long time.
Forward Sports, which also makes footballs for the German Bundesliga, France Ligue 1 and the Champions League, was also the official football provider of 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“This is an honour for us that we are going to provide footballs for the world cup once again. We are very excited to meet this challenge,” Khawaja Masood, the chairman of the company, told Anadolu Agency.
Khawaja said his firm produced a total of 700,000 footballs a month.
The football that will be used in the upcoming tournament is technically termed as thermo bonded, which was first introduced in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Thermo bonded balls are made by attaching the panels through heat – the latest technology adopted by Adidas and transferred to Forward Sports in 2013.
Before that, Pakistan had supplied hand stitched football for almost all the World Cups from the 1990s to 2010.
“Although Pakistan football team will not be participating in the forthcoming World Cup, its presence will be felt in all the matches [because of the balls],” said Khawaja.