Saturday, April 16, 2011

Geo Sports TV Ban Amid Pakistan's Youth Bulge

The reason most frequently cited for Pakistan's poor performance at international sporting events is the lack of funding, especially when compared with nations where the state or private sector sponsors spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on their athletes and sports teams.

For example, the Johnson-Ali model which was developed by the duo to predict participating nations' Olympics success, suggested that Pakistan would win seven medals, including three golds, won no medals at all at Athens Olympics. In fact, Pakistan has won three golds,three silvers and four bronze medals, a total of 10 medals in the entire history of its participation in Olympics movement since 1948. Eight out of the ten medals were won by Pakistan's field hockey team. The last Olympic medal Pakistan won was a bronze in 1992.

Johnson-Ali model was developed by Economics professor Daniel Johnson and his student Ms. Ayfer Ali to predict a country's Olympic performance using per-capita income (the economic output per person), the nation's population, its political structure, its climate and the host nation advantage. The Johnson-Ali model was described in a paper, “A Tale of Two Seasons: Participation and Medal Counts at the Summer and Winter Olympics,” that was written in 1999 with Ayfer Ali, while Johnson was on sabbatical at Harvard University and Ali was a student. It was published in Social Science Quarterly in December 2004."It's just pure economics," Johnson insists. "I know nothing about the athletes. And even if I did, I didn't include it."



In terms of funding, the recent growth in Pakistan's commercial media and its coverage of sports have offered a ray of hope, particularly for major Olympics sports which have historically been ignored. And it has come in the form of commercial sponsors looking to use the media coverage to promote their products and services to consumers. Geo Super, the nation's only TV channel dedicated to covering a whole range of sporting events in Pakistan, has led the way.

In addition to promoting sports, tv channels like Geo Super also have the salutary effect in promoting youth athleticism and fitness to play the sports being glamorized by the extensive coverage.

Unfortunately, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has recently pulled the plug on Geo Super, along with AAG, another Geo channel aimed at youth. This decision appears to be have been motivated by the short-sighted desire to hurt Jang media group financially to put pressure on its news channels to tone down their criticism of the current PPP government.

This bad and ill-timed decision has come at time when Pakistan is experiencing a major youth bulge. Fifty-seven per cent of Pakistan’s population is between 15 and 64, and 41 per cent are under 15. Only four per cent are over 65, according to the UN Population Fund.



This youth bulge can either be used to ramp up economic productivity leading to unprecedented prosperity in Pakistan, or it can cause severe social strife sparking a violent revolution. Channels like Geo Super offer an opportunity to promote pursuit of fitness to help build healthier bodies and create jobs through economic activity in the form of sales of sports apparel, shoes, fitness equipment and memberships of fitness clubs.

While the PPP politicians may find it expedient in the short term to tamp down criticism, this decision is likely to hurt Pakistan's youth the most at a time when there are few other outlets to release their energy in nonviolent ways. And the longer this decision is not reversed, the more likely it will hurt Pakistan's future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Johnson-Ali Model

Commonwealth Games Medals Per Capita 2010

IPL Mixes Cricket, Business and Entertainment

Pakistan's Youth Bulge

Geo Super Sports TV Channel

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

My dear pal, it looks like u really dont read the full story before writing bout issues.
Jung group did NOT have permission to air their channel from Pakistan. they along with all other channels took a license where they could air channel from outside of the country like ESPN n ten sports.
Plus AAG was shut cause Jang very cleverly started to broadcast sports on it when it only had a license to broadcast entertainment.
I don't understand why the Jung group breaks the law and are acting all Gung Ho bout it.It is a fact that they are wrong and this has been admitted by several employees working for the group. Please get your facts in order.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Jung group did NOT have permission to air their channel from Pakistan."

Then why was it allowed to broadcast for five years? And now it's been denied even the landing rights? This makes no sense!

There are much larger issues involved here....such as limiting funding and promotion of sports which go hand in hand with media coverage, and an attempt to silence a critical voice by hurting its finance.

This clumsy ban is going to backfire on the PPP (and hurt Pakistan's future) if the energy of the youth in a nation with over 40% youth population is not channeled constructively and peacefully.

The fact is that the govt is unhappy with Jang group because

Hamid said...

Pakistan has the most unchecked and unregulated media possibly anywhere in the world. For the country to achieve anything positive, strict media regulation is needed. The media persons, basically from among the journalistic community, are black mailers of the highest order and using media to further their narrow personal interests. Going back into the 70s, 80s and 90s, ie the time when journalism was limited to newspaper reporting only, you'll remember that journalist community was reputed among the educated Pakistanis, professionals etc as "blackmailers". The same people are now dominating the media and our public is naive enough to call it "media freedom".

Riaz Haq said...

Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the govt to restore Geo Super's satellite license immediately.

Having lost the court battle, the PPP govt and PEMRA are now likely to respond by encouraging significant competition in sports coverage by giving terrestrial transmission licenses to Geo's competitors to hurt Geo's profits.

It'll be a good outcome for consumers and advertisers alike. It will give them more choices in sports media space. It'll improve and increase sports coverage overall...and encourage more youths to participate in athletics and sports.

Anonymous said...

It seems you are completly unaware of the reality. You called Geo Super a promoter of sports in Pakistan.... Reality is that they are the destroyers of Pakistani sports. You paid PPP is against Geo Super.... The reality is that they have joined hands with Geo in destroying sports. Kindly open your eyes and be fair.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "The reality is that they have joined hands with Geo in destroying sports. Kindly open your eyes and be fair."

The answer is not to ban Geo Super, but to create healthy competition by encouraging more sports channels to improve sports sponsorship and coverage for Pakistan's youth development in althetics.

Riaz Haq said...

Media report says cell phone service company Zong in a deal with Manchester United to train Pakistan's young footballers:

KARACHI: Some 32 young footballers between the ages of 10 and 18 from all over Pakistan can look forward to training by Manchester United players and coaches, including Sir Alex Ferguson, thanks to an arrangement between the world-famous professional football club and a mobile telecom company here.

“Seeing the popularity of football among youngsters in Pakistan, Zong has entered into a three-year contract with Manchester United. It is hoped that this one of a kind partnership will lead to prosperity, growth and triumph for the sport here,” said the company’s Director Advertising and Promotions Rizwan Akhter at a press conference called to announce the union at a local hotel here on Tuesday.

Unveiling the benefits of the contract, Rizwan Akhter said: “From next year, we will hold country-wide trials to pick 32 best footballers in the 10 to 18 age group for training by the club’s players and coaches.”

The partnership gives Pakistan rights to exclusive news and footage of the English clubs activities in order to bring the 150,000 Manchester United fans here closer to the club and their favourite players.

“The move will go a long way in promoting football in Pakistan and inspiring more young players to take up the sport here,” explained the company’s representative.

“It will also allow us here to look more closely at the club’s way of working and their formats in order to take out and follow the positive things from there to help improve the infrastructure here,” he added.

“Though we are focusing on the grassroots level for now, it is hoped that along with the inspiration gained from learning more about the famous English club with such an interesting history will come improvement in football grounds and academies here,” pointed out the gentleman.

Meanwhile, to a question about the possibility of Manchester United players or coaches visiting Pakistan, the organisers said that the present security situation prevents that from happening until things improved here.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/26/manchester-uniteds-best-to-aid-pakistani-footballers.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' story about soccer offering hope for poor slum kids in Karachi:

In the heart of one of Pakistan's most dangerous neighborhoods in the teeming city of Karachi, soccer pitches are keeping vulnerable teenagers from joining abundant gangs, kidnappers and extortion rackets.

Dozens of hard-scrabble soccer clubs give youngsters with few chances for education or work the opportunity to get off the streets and even dream of getting a nod to join a national team or a semi-professional club.

"There is so much talent in Lyari. It can be a great way of keeping these kids away from drugs and street crime especially if they are well paid and rewarded," said Yacoob Baloch, a soccer coach at one of the clubs.

Pakistan, a strategic U.S. ally, spends less than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on education which translates into a lack of skills needed to find work for much of the young population of the country of nearly 180 million.

Pakistan's police and security forces also lack funds, making it easy for criminals to thrive in Lyari, a densely populated area in Karachi with dilapidated buildings, potholed streets and raw sewage.

More than 1,600 people were killed in Karachi last year in either political and sectarian violence or by drug dealers, mafia hitmen and extortionists, marking the worst bloodshed since the army was called in to ease street battles in the 1990s.

But soccer has proven to be a way out of the chaos for some.

"Because of my focus on football, my mind has never wandered off to other things like drugs or violence," said Muneer Aftab, 15, who led Pakistan to victory in the under-16 South Asian Football Federation Championships in 2011, defeating arch-rival India.

"Playing football runs in my blood. I just want to play forever."

But for people like Aftab, there is only limited time to practice and usually only after being worn down by the daily grind in the sprawling city of 18 million on the Arabian Sea.

He wakes up at the crack of dawn to play soccer, goes to school during the day and helps his father who drives a rickshaw along Karachi's chaotic streets, and goes back to the soccer pitch at night.

"I know I am chasing my dream. But it's not easy," said Aftab, well-built, dark-skinned and shy.

LYARI IS A LITTLE BRAZIL

Soccer has become a big hit in Lyari, no small feat because cricket is by far the most popular sport in Pakistan. There are 98 registered soccer clubs, 11 football grounds and two stadiums in Lyari, home to over 600,000 people.

If a player gets recognized in Lyari, not only the national team comes into sight, but also the chance to play for teams sponsored by corporations and banks that pay players a monthly salary.

The National Bank of Pakistan, for instance, gives Aftab 10,000 rupees ($111) a month to play in the semi-professional league.

During the last soccer World Cup, violence dropped sharply in Lyari. Residents gathered in the evening to watch matches on projector screens, a welcome change in a place where nighttime usually means gang warfare and abductions.

Ahmed Jan, a local coach and stadium manager, said Karachi's exposure to the sport began in the late 1950s.

Ships from Europe docked at the port. Sailors interacted with boys who worked as laborers and introduced them to soccer and kicked a few balls around.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-us-pakistan-soccertre80n0ol-20120124,0,5846553.story

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on Zong sponsoring soccer training of Pak youth in England:

Zong, the digital partner of Pakistani nation, will be sending 32 young boys to Manchester United Soccer School in the United Kingdom for a one week training camp. Zong’s media manager Amir Pasha told a group of journalists here on Wednesday that Zong was giving this ‘first of a kind opportunity’ of being a hero to the football fans of Pakistan. “In this regard, Zong – the fastest growing network of Pakistan – will be identifying schools teams with maximum number of 16 players per team. First 120 teams to register will then be given a chance to prove their mettle by competing against each other,” he added.

He said Zong Manchester United Staff would consult school football coaches for the selection of players. “16 players identified by the coaches will then come together to form a team.” He said in order to help young individual players a team briefing would be organised in which they would be provided guidance for the complete registration process along with the dates of all the fixtures.

“The trials for selection of teams will be conducted in major cities of Pakistan which includes Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad. A team of professional coaches will conduct these skilled-based trails and select the best players to form 8 teams with 16 players in each team. Three teams will be formed in Karachi, two in Lahore and one each in Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad,” added Amir.

He said matches would be held among all these teams and the winning team comprising 32 players would be sent to Manchester United Soccer School.

“All of those who want to participate in these nationwide football tournaments will be required to purchase and activate Zong-Manchester United SIM to enter the tournament,” he concluded.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\03\29\story_29-3-2012_pg2_14

Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC's Soutik Biswas on falling IPL ratings:

If TV ratings figures are to be believed, fans have had enough of cricket despite the nine-team, 76-match, seven-week Twenty20 tourney.

Viewer ratings were down 18.7% in the first six games - a time when interest in the tournament traditionally peaks - compared with the same period last year.

That's not all. Season V began on a wrong note with a tawdry Bollywood song-and-dance opening show which even appears to have put off fans. Two top sponsors have withdrawn. Brand and communication consultants are warning that the IPL brand is in "choppy waters", and the league needs a "stronger game plan to rejuvenate the brand". One brand consultancy firm has downgraded the league's value to $3.67bn, down 11% from 2010.

Remember, the response to IPL Season IV last year was lukewarm. TV ratings dropped by 29% and even the final met a tepid response. Cricket fans were savouring India's spectacular win in the World Cup which preceded the tournament, and had little appetite for more cricket.

Why is the thrill gone this year - at least in the early stages of the tournament? After all, this is the tournament which combines the sublime (sledgehammer batting, close finishes) and the ridiculous (Bollywood entertainment, cheerleaders, "strategic time outs" in the middle of the games to facilitate advertising breaks). Indians love tamasha (entertainment), and the IPL is still the best tamasha on offer.

For one, after the song and dances are over, it's finally all about cricket. India is still licking its wounds after a nightmarish international season in which it lost eight overseas Test matches on the trot - its worst run since the 1960s. Though Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international hundred in Dhaka last month was a welcome diversion, India failed to pick up the Asia Cup. Don't disrespect the fan, Rahul Dravid eloquently said at last year's Bradman Oration, and to expect fans to flock to cheer non-performing cricketers at the highest level is a bit fey.

Also, Indian stars are the league's biggest draw, and most of them have been performing indifferently or are absent in the ongoing edition. Tendulkar is hurt after the first game, and Sehwag and Dhoni, two big hitters, haven't fired yet. VVS Laxman isn't playing this season. Yuvraj Singh is recovering from cancer and is out of the game for a while. Saurav Ganguly's batting is past its sell-by date. Rahul Dravid is playing a post-retirement nostalgia gig. Yusuf Pathan, a Twenty20 star, has fizzled out. When the stars are largely down and out, fans stay away.

Fans also seem to be confused about whom to support. The IPL is a city-based league aiming to build up fan bases in half-a-dozen big Indian cities. But when Calcutta's icon Saurav Ganguly, Delhi's favourite Gautam Gambhir and Bangalore's biggest star Rahul Dravid end up leading the teams of Pune, Calcutta and Rajasthan, fan loyalties to home teams can begin to fray easily.

Interest will possibly pick up during the knockouts and the final at the fag end of the league. It may even pick up with more high-scoring games, edge-of-the-seat finishes, and big-bang batting by the stars.

But authorities simply cannot afford to let the IPL crash.

Listen to Sharda Ugra, India's top cricket writer, and you know why. "The IPL has now become a key component of world cricket's economy," she writes. "If it falters and fails because it is not alert to the audience climate around it, the domino effect around the cricket world will be damaging. Cricket's superstar status in many parts of its empire will be downgraded from club class to cattle class - all holy cows included."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17699415

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece on Pak Youth Parliament's charter of demands:

More than 150 members of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan on Monday shared a 42-point Charter of Demands (CoD) for “mainstreaming human rights education and democratic citizenship” with representatives of the main political parties.

The charter was presented at the National Human Rights Education Forum, organised by the Youth Parliament of Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights.

The youth declared the lack of education and women and child rights issues as the biggest human rights violations. The charter demanded that minorities and transgenders be given equal rights and protection, karo kari and wani be abolished and that human rights be included as a subject in the curriculum (in schools and madrassas). It also called for setting up human rights cells in all educational institutes and urged stricter checks on parliamentarians if they commit a human rights violation.

The charter, according to the organisers, was formulated after holding over a 100 workshops under the banner of Know Your Rights campaign.

People from 53 districts across the country attended the workshops and gave suggestions.
---------
The parliament’s chairman Abrarul Haq – who is also PTI’s Youth Wing president – said that youth who make up a large fraction of the population should have a say in policy making.

Amjad Zafar, the YPP national programme officer for human rights, said the workshops had been conducted over a year and had targeted the 18 to 35 age group. “We demand that all political parties make the CoD content a part their manifestos’, said Zafar, who also oversees the Punjab chapter.

Andeel Ali, the district programme manager in Sindh said that even if one of their demands were included in a party’s manifesto, they would consider it an achievement.

Adnan Khan from Peshawar said that the youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wanted a bigger say in legislation. He identified the lack of education, child labour and social deprivation of women as the biggest human rights violations in the province.

Sarmad Yasin, the programme’s regional project manager in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said child rights violations are a problem in his area.

“The youth in Balochistan – who drop out of school – are exploited by political and religious leaders,” said Azmat Baloch, a YPP facilitator in Quetta.

He said that this deprived them of opportunities. The rising number of ‘missing persons’ had also created a sense of deprivation in the youth, he said, and was increasing frustration among them.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/385471/youth-parliament-of-pakistan-your-demands-are-already-part-of-ministrys-charter/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR-APP report on development challenges discussed at UN:

Pakistan urged a major UN panel to help the international community respond to the challenges of development -- promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work -- so as to eradicate poverty.

"At a time when the world economy is facing multiple crises, the UN Economic and Social Council must play a robust role as the central mechanism for coordination of the activities of the UN system in the economic, social and related fields," Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar told a high-level session of 54-member ECOSOC, the economic arm of the United Nations.

The United Nations should be in the driving seat and not the spectators gallery," he said in the course of the annual ministerial review on economic issues affecting UN member states.

The Pakistani envoy said there was no gainsaying the fact that business as usual was no longer an option and we need to reset our economic model to promote sustained, strong and inclusive economic growth, as well as sustainable development.

"About 68 per cent of Pakistans population was under the age of 30, he said, adding, the labour force grew at 3 per cent annually. Like other member states, Ambassador Tarar said, the Pakistan Government faced the formidable task of creating jobs and decent working conditions amid multiple crises.

Two policy initiatives were particularly notable among the measures taken by the Government to promote productive capacity, employment and decent work.

1. Pakistan had made youth development and community engagement one of the pillars of economic growth, he said. Steps had been taken to harness the capacities of youth through vocational and technical training programmes. It was also promoting public-private partnership in this area.

2. The Benazir Income Programme (BISP) was a cash-transfer programme focusing on empowerment of women, the Pakistani envoy said. Through this programme, female members of beneficiary families were given monthly income supplement assistance in cash.

Positive policies, he said, did not make Pakistan immune to direct impact of natural and man-made disasters and global economic conditions, as well as difficulties faced by skilled and employable Pakistanis in securing productive employment abroad. Pakistan believed that enhanced employment opportunities abroad for skilled and semi-skilled labour dovetailed into poverty eradication.

Ambassador Tarar stressed the need to increase investments in productive capacities and address infrastructure gaps. Improving agricultural productivity and rural non-farm income opportunities were among Pakistans priorities, he said.


http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/1-front-top-news/66212-pakistan-stresses-need-to-respond-to-development-challenges.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Real Madrid's plans to open a soccer school in Pakistan:

The Real Madrid Foundation (FRM), an NGO established by Spanish football giants Real Madrid, signed an MoU with a Pakistani NGO yesterday at the Santiago Bernabeu which will see FRM establish their social sports school model in Pakistan.

The project will kick off with two schools in Karachi that will comprise 400 boys and girls aged six to 17. Foreign coaches from Spain will also visit Pakistan to train local coaches. In addition, students with disabilities will receive specialised care.

“We are excited about the implementation of our FRM model in Pakistan for the betterment of children through the power of sport,” said Real Madrid’s Sporting Director Miguel Pardeza.

FRM was established in 1997 to service the disadvantaged through the power of sport.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/466253/real-madrid-to-establish-sports-schools-in-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET blog post on India-Pakistan cricket series coverage in Pakistan:

Most of the population in Pakistan has access to a television (of any shape or size) and the advantages that it comes with. One of these being, cable TV. In fact, channels that come from across the globe dominate our ‘viewing time.’

Amidst numerous entertainment channels, mainstream channels that are solely dedicated to sports are Star Sports, Star Cricket, Ten Sports, Geo Super, ESPN and PTV Sports.

While it may be argued that the best cricket coverage and analysis is provided by Super Sports and Sky Sports, we have to admit that they have become less accessible to the mainstream cable providers over the years, and are only available after additional payment for these channels, or alternate cable TV packages.

So watching cricket matches with top class coverage, especially with the current Indo-Pak series underway is a national concern, with cricket being a rare unifying factor in our society today.

A cricket starved fan will tune in an hour before the game starts, to listen to what the experts think, what factors they think will drive the game, and what decisions will be crucial for the captain.

It’s a fascinating hour before the game starts. Veins pumping with adrenaline, you’re excited and all geared up and you struggle to watch as many people as you can on various sports channels broadcasting the game.

Different channels employ different methods to present sports shows.

Retired cricketers, cricketers who are still in action, and senior sports journalists and analysts are employed to conduct match analyses. Although, sports analysts tend to change with every new series, sports channels have managed to associate themselves with specific analysts.

For example the Channel 9 team that covers all Test Matches in Australia: Tony Grieg, Bill Lawry, Ian Chappel and Richie Benaud; lovable and exciting, crazed enthusiast, opinionated and controversial, and a statesman, in the same order respectively.

The Geo Super team for the Indo-Pak series is Sikandar Bakht, Yahya Hussaini and Hamid Mir; they are producing a combined Pak-India Takra with an Indian channel where Kambli, Inzimam, Prabharkar and Sharma are present....


http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/15476/leading-cricket-analysts-in-pakistan-aamir-sohail-ali-sanwal-and-dr-nauman/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn piece on football (soccer) in Pakistan:

While Pakistan’s stature in world football remains unchanged, the landscape of football in Pakistan has changed tremendously over the last 10 or so years.

Fundamental to this has been the setting up of football leagues coupled with the impact of cable/satellite resulting in matches of all top foreign leagues of the world being telecast live.

Following on from the success of the department based K-League (brainchild of the late Hassan Musa of PIA), Karachi United FC launched the Karachi Premier League in 2003 (Karachi League). Thereafter, in 2004, the PFF organised the first ever national league, i.e., the PPFL. While other leagues have been set up from time to time, PPFL and the Karachi League are the only leagues that have managed to maintain continuity.

Whereas the Karachi League was and continues to aim at the promotion of club football in Karachi, the PPFL features the top teams in the country which essentially comprise of departments and the armed forces teams plus a handful of clubs.

Three teams, namely, Wapda (four titles), Army (two) and this season’s top team KRL (who will add a third title to their two previous ones) have been dominant in the nine seasons of the PPFL. On the other hand, the Karachi League has seen as many as seven different winners in its past nine seasons with Shahzad Mohammadan FC being the only club to have won two titles. The complete list of winners of the Karachi League is: Hyderi Baloch (2003), Lyari Labour Welfare Centre (2004-05), Young Ansari (2005-06), Keamari Mohammadan (2006-07), Shahzad Mohammadan (2007-08 and 2008-09), Chanesar Blue (2009-10), Baloch Youth (2010-11) and Burma Mohammadan (2011-12).

Whereas the PPFL follows a promotion/relegation model with teams from the second division, i.e., the PFF League (PFF-B) being promoted (bottom two of the PPFL are replaced by the top two in the PFF-B), given the large number of clubs in Karachi, the Karachi League essentially sees the top eight or so teams maintaining their places, whereas the remaining eight to 12 are nominated by the district associations of Karachi. The Karachi League has seen a constant evolution to manage the demands of the associations as well as sponsors. Hence, initially having been launched as a 10-team single league event, for the last few seasons, it has featured 20 top Karachi clubs divided into two groups of 10 each with the top four in each group advancing to the Super League/Playoff stage. From these eight, the top four qualify for the semis and final and the league has become more akin to the MLS format than the European model.

Where the PPFL has been successful is that it has been able to maintain the same number of teams and the proper double league format. However, criticisms abound as regards the congested nature of the fixtures, with players sometimes being subjected to three games in five days.

The fact that PPFL essentially features department and armed forces teams has also meant that attendances are poor, with the best supported teams being the Balochistan clubs Afghan FC (Chaman), Baloch FC (Noshki) and Muslim FC. In stark contrast, the Karachi League, despite being essentially at the level of a third division, routinely attracts healthy audiences with the highlight being the 2008-09 final between Shahzad Mohammadan and Nazimabad FC where a huge crowd of over 18,000 witnessed proceedings at the KMC Stadium. The playoff matches of that season’s Karachi League were also broadcast (recorded and not live) on TenSports. Last season’s final between eventual champions Burma Mohammadan FC and Karachi United FC saw a healthy crowd of 8,000 at the Baloch Mujahid Stadium.


http://dawn.com/2013/01/13/in-depth-pakistan-football/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are two stories on Pakistan Super League:

Haroon Lorgat, the former International Cricket Council boss who is now a consultant for the Pakistan Cricket Board’s new Twenty20 league, feels it has got huge potential and will attract top foreign players to participate in the event soon.

In an exclusive interview to Gulf News, Lorgat, who stopped over in Dubai after launching the logo of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore, said: “There is a lot of potential for the PSL. We all know that Twenty20 cricket is now a reality and professional cricket in the form of franchise-based models is now common and people understand it. So professional leagues will develop and Pakistan, which has some 180 million people, are very passionate for the game of cricket. They have amazing talent within the country and the response I have seen for this league has even excited me.”

Lorgat, who was the Chief Executive of ICC during a crucial phase, strongly believes that foreign players will return to play in Pakistan.

“Foreign players should come to play in Pakistan. We all know the negative perceptions about safety and security. It is something which is real and the PCB will put in place a security plan to deal with the risks and perceptions. The enquiries received from some very good foreign international players to play in the league are extremely encouraging. If I look at what has already been confirmed and what is in the pipeline, it bodes well. I hope some of the real super stars too will consider though I do understand that it will be up to each individual to decide. I have been to Pakistan a number of times recently and Lahore is quite a normal place. Cricket goes on there and I know that Pakistan will put appropriate safety and security measures in place.”

--

Answering to a query why Pakistan players are good Twenty20 players and whether it has to do with their physique or skill, Lorgat said: “It is a combination of a number of things. They certainly have serious talent and skill. We all know how often Pakistan select new players that thrills the world. They appear to work a lot harder these days and I have seen their academy which is very impressive. They have good process in place to develop their players, their disciplines have also improved and with their skills they will always produce match winners. “


http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/sports/16-Jan-2013/pakistan-super-league-has-potential-says-haroon-lorgat

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) plans of involving international cricketers in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) are likely to get a boost after some Australian players, who took part in the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL), indicated that they would like to be a part of the event.

It has been learnt that the Pakistani players, who were part of the SLPL, tried convincing foreign players to participate in the PSL and received an encouraging response from them. The Australians part of SLPL included Brad Hodge, Clint McKay, Dirk Nannes and Adam Voges among others.

“Australian players have shown interest in the PSL,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “They were receiving $20,000-$35,000 in SLPL and with an opportunity of earning up to $100,000 in Pakistan, we’re hopeful it will be an attractive enough proposition for them. Their presence would be vital to our pursuit of the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.”

The official was hopeful that a successfully executed PSL would help them to host international matches in Pakistan.

“We need to set a precedent through the PSL that Pakistan is safe for sports and it won’t be difficult in convincing teams to play here as it’s right now.”
...


http://tribune.com.pk/story/494429/pakistan-super-league-players-contacts-will-help-get-more-stars/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Pakistani youngsters winning a ski competition in Korea:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani skiers clinched two top positions at a skiing competition called Dream Programme – 2013 held in Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea, said a press release on Monday.

President Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP) Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan congratulated Noor Muhammad and Shah Hussain of Naltar Ski School who won the gold and silver medals respectively at the event. He hoped that the success would significantly boost the SFP’s ventures in national and international ski events.

The winning skiers also met with the Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Choong-joo Choi who appreciated the performances of the budding players.

The Dream Programme was initiated by Gangwon Province in 2004 to promote winter sports in countries where winter sports facilities were not fully developed. Pakistan joined the programme in 2011.

This year, around 150 participants from 40 countries took part in the training after which athletes were divided into groups and competitions were held among them.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/496979/pakistan-sweep-skiing-competition-

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an APP report about Pakistan's top ranking in snooker:

Asif's title victory helped Pakistan to get 120 points and accumulated total 172 points to attain top position in the Men Snooker Ranking for the year 2012. Pakistan had 52 points after previous year's championship and was at No.8.



The ranking is based on points accumulated for their performance in current year and immediate previous championships,said a spokesman of Pakistan Billiard and Snooker Federation here on Monday.



Both the players from England reached in Quarter finals and one moved to final helped the country to gain 100 points and placed England at position 3 with total 142 points. Last year England was at Position 10. Poland and Switzerland also performed well to better their positions as 16 and 17 from previous bests of 28 and 32 respectively. Countries that have dropped down noticeably in the ranking list includes Thailand (down to Rank 4 from top position), India (from 2 to 6), Ireland (from 3 to 8) and Afghanistan (from 9 to 23).


http://www.brecorder.com/sports/other-sports/102371-pakistan-attains-top-position-in-ibsf-men-ranking.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on scuba diving in Karachi:

Meet Yousuf Ali of the Karachi Scuba Diving Centre (KSDC) and his daughter Rosheen – both teach people how to scuba dive and snorkel in Karachi. A breezy hour-long drive from the city and on towards the Mubarak Village is where the duo take Karachi’s adventure seeking crowds.

From Mubarak Village, people are taken to Charna Island on a boat, where they can experience diving, snorkeling and exploring the extensive marine life the Arabian Sea has to offer. However, as Ali explains in the video, the operations of an oil refinery are about to start in the area, which might just destroy this marine haven.

The KSDC has been in existence for the last 30 years, they promote environmental protection of all kind, especially underwater protection, and take groups for reef cleaning and conservation of the extensive coral reef life down below.

Recently Ali has worked with the WWF to catalog the different kinds of species the sea has to offer – they have compared the species cariation off the coast of sandy beaches versus rocky beaches in the country as well.

View the video to see exclusive footage of the various fish species, corals, plants and other marine life and hear the stories of beginners, amateur and veteran divers of the city.


http://dawn.com/2013/01/24/scuba-diving-off-the-coast-of-karachi/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Pak team winning a regatta in Manila:

KARACHI:

Karachi Boat Club (KBC) successfully defended their title at the International AREA-FEARA Regatta Trophy when the team outpaced clubs from India and Sri Lanka in the men’s fours event, while the women’s team bagged silver medal in the coxed-fours event at the Paoay Lake in Manila.

KBC clinched the title for the eighth time in a row at the tournament that featured nine countries and more than 100 rowers in nine events that ran through January 13 to 20.

Captain Arif Ikram, whose team comprised of Benney, Khurram Khwaja and Asghar Ali said the excitement of winning the trophy is still the same for him as it was eight years ago. The 12-member squad returned to Karachi on Friday after the win.

“We have been competing in this event for the past eight years now,” Ikram told The Express Tribune. “I hope our win would also motivate other amateur rowers in the country to do better. With this win we have showed them that there is plenty of scope in this sport. Meanwhile, there is a lot of activity on the local front as well so we are prepared to compete with the best clubs in the region.”

The KBC squad won six medals in the eight events of the tournament. Apart from the gold and silver medal in the fours event, the men’s team also won bronze in men’s pairs, single scull and fours race in the AREA (Amateur Rowing Association of the East) Trophy while women’s team won bronze in the AREA Women’s Double Scull event.

The women’s team consisted of Alizeh Premjee, Shehla Sajjad Gokal, Aleena Abid and the 14-year-old Salma Rabia Arif, who was also the youngest participant in the eight-day competition. Meanwhile, India’s Calcutta Rowing Club took the AREA Super Masters Trophy.

KBC will be preparing for the Asian Schools Championship in July and later a team will participate in the World Masters Championship in September in Italy.

“This is going to be the first time that our rowers will take part in the World Masters and we will start preparing for the event at least six months before the competition.”


http://tribune.com.pk/story/499095/pakistan-shine-at-rowing-event-with-six-medals-trophy/

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Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on Pak skiers qualifying for winter olympics in Sochi:

KARACHI: Pakistan have qualified for the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia, in February next year.



After participating in International Ski Federation (FIS) races held in Europe and Asia, Pakistan attained the required FIS points for participation in the Olympic Winter Games (OWG), the Ski Federation of Pakistan said on Sunday.



The Pakistani contingent comprising three skiers participated in the FIS races held from February 17 to March 18 in Italy, Lebanon and Turkey.



Mir Nawaz, Karim and Muhammad Abbas of Pakistan achieved 137, 130 and 122 FIS points, respectively.



Mir Nawaz won a silver medal in a momentous run of the FIS race (Slalom discipline) in Lebanon.



Muhammad Abbas of PAF was the first Pakistani skier to feature in the Giant Slalom discipline of Alpine Skiing during the Olympic Winter Games 2010 in Vancouver.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-10-170058-Pakistan-skiers-to-feature-in-Winter-Olympics