Pakistan’s contribution to football throughout FIFA World Cup’s history

  • 21 Jul - 27 Jul, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Sports

Amidst myriads of goals, thrilling game play and much fanfare, the FIFA World Cup 2018 has finally ended; and the world witnessed the French, yet again, take the coveted trophy home after 20 long years. The world had its eyes on the mega sporting event and so did Pakistan. But the game itself, the celebrated players and festivities of the FIFA World Cup were not the only reasons why Pakistanis were excited, for witnessing the game bing played using the country’s locally manufactured footballs was the reason for every Pakistani to be proud of. Telstar 18 – the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is not the only football produced in Pakistan, the country has been part of the grand sports event since the 1980s. Read on!

Making of the football

Inspired by Russia’s urban landscapes, the iconic 2018 World Cup ball football is designed by Adidas, which is a FIFA Partner and FIFA World Cup official match ball supplier since 1970. This football and its design pays a tribute to the first ever match ball – Telstar – produced by the company which was named for its semblance to the original Telstar communications satellite.

The specially manufactured, thermo bonded, footballs take a lot of skill to be produced. The football’s panels are attached using heat, which is the latest technology that sports goods giant Adidas adopted and in 2013, transferred it to the Pakistani company Forward Sports. Husnain Cheema, the president of the Pakistan Sports Goods Association said that the country will export around 10 million footballs across the world this year.

The ball’s name was publicised last year during an official presentation in Moscow by the Argentinean star footballer and forward for Spanish club Barcelona, Lionel Messi.

A moment of pride

In all of the world cup matches, the famous Pakistani thermo bonded footballs were used. As fans of the game cheered for their favourites during the world cup held in Russia, Pakistanis sure had a different reason to celebrate. The Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, Alexey Dedov, announced that the official footballs used in the World Cup will all be made in Pakistan. The country’s immensely skilled labour from its sports goods’ industry does more than just produce footballs; it reminds the world that the country may not be playing the game but the game would have certainly not been played, if it wasn’t for our locally manufactured footballs. It was indeed a moment of pride, as over 200 million Pakistanis felt their presence at the biggest sporting event of the year.

Sialkot – the home of sports goods

• Known as the world’s largest producer of hand-sewed footballs and home to numerous local factories manufacturing 40-60 million footballs a year, Sialkot is known for producing the best quality sports products and is known to supply footballs for a very long time.

• The first time Sialkot produced footballs for the FIFA World Cup in 1982, and the city gained international celebrity status when it manufactured the ‘Tango Ball’ which boosted the growth of the soccer ball industry in the country.

• Almost all of the major international brands like Adidas, Puma, Nike, Litto, Select, Mitre, Umbro, Micassa, Wilsoms, Decathion and Diadora, have been sourcing their football supply from the hub of this cottage industry and export-oriented city of Pakistan.

• Sialkot-based sports good manufacturing company – Forward Sports – was yet again commissioned by Adidas to produce footballs for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

• More than 10 million footballs were exported from Pakistan for the World Cup 2018.

• Forward Sports first came into prominence after landing the contract of over 3,000 “Brazuca” balls, used at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The company is a contracting manufacturer of the world famous sports brand, Adidas.

• The company also produces footballs for the UEFA Champions League, France Ligue 1 and German Bundesliga.

• The football used in the 2018 World Cup is referred to as thermo bonded; and was first introduced during World Cup 2014.

• The company produces around 700,000 footballs a month.

Footballs made in Pakistan used in FIFA World Cup throughout history

Etrusco Unico – 1990
The name and design took their inspiration from Italy’s ancient history and the fine art of the Etruscans.

Questra – 1994
This ball featured a space related name and decorations, as 1994 was the 25th anniversary of USA’s Apollo 11 mission that took the first humans to the Moon.

Tricolore – 1998
This ball featured the colours of the French flag and the country’s traditional cockerel symbol.

Fevernova – 2002
A new print pattern inspired by Far East cultures broke the design trend that dated back to 1978.

Teamgeist – 2006
Each of these footballs were personalised with the stadium’s name, date, time and teams playing, while a gold version was used in the final.

Jabulani – 2010
The ball’s structure was composed of eight thermally bonded three dimensional panels, with a grooved surface formed by Adida’s ‘Grip and Groove’ technology.

Brazuca – 2014
The inspiration for the design of this six-panelled ball came from the zig-zagging pathways of the Amazon river and the traditional bracelets of Brazillian culture.