Sunday, June 15, 2014

Science of FIFA's Pakistan-made Brazuca Ball for Brazil World Cup 2014

Pakistan is manufacturing and supplying footballs for use in all 64 matches of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. In addition, most European football leagues have place huge orders to buy Brazuca balls designed by Adidas and made in Pakistan.

Brazuca Ball Source: BBC 
Brazuca football is made from six identical propeller shaped polyurethane pieces glued to a rubber bladder and thermally bonded together. It weighs 437 grams and measures 69 cm in circumference. Pakistan produces the high-quality polyurethane used in manufacturing Brazuca football panels. Brazuca is quite different from the traditional soccer balls which have historically been made of leather pieces stitched together in Sialkot, Pakistan. Polyurethane balls are water-resistant and maintain their shape much better than the leather balls under a variety of conditions in terms of temperature, pressure and humidity. Leather balls have a problem specially  if they soak up the water when it rains during play. Pakistan was chosen to supply the ball after China, the supplier of Jabulani for 2010 World Cup, was unable to meet FIFA's requirements.

Pakistan has not only earned the honor of manufacturing the ball that will be used in FIFA 2014 matches but also outdone both India and China in supplying tens of millions of footballs to European nations that place bulk orders for promotional purposes, according to India's Economic Times.

The Brazuca design is an improvement on the Jabulani ball used in 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Jabulani was too smooth with shallow seams, a problem that has been fixed in the Brazuca by adding raise nub texture and creating deeper seams making its flight more predictable.

The 2010 Jabulani ball had eight panels. The 2006 ball had 14. Before that, the balls were made of 32 internally-stitched panels. By decreasing the number of panels, they decreased the seams, creating a smoother surface. This smoother surface allows it to travel at higher speeds before it started knuckling. Knuckling is when the ball wobbles in the air, following an unpredictable flight path. It's a tool for strikers, a menace for goalkeepers. Researchers at the Center for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK measured the seams of the Jabulani and the Brazuca, and found that the Jabulani's seams are about .48 mm deep compared to 1.56 mm for the Brazuca. The seams on the Brazuca stretch to 327 cm, compared to 203 cm on the Jabulani.

The Brazuca ball went through a range of scientific tests to assure that it would complement the players' skills on the field, rather than adding a skill set all its own. "We do extensive flight path analysis and the results have shown constant and predictable paths, with deviations hardly recognizable," Matthias Mecking told the BBC. Mecking is Adidas's football director. "We've come full circle," NASA Ames Research Center scientist Ravi Mehta told the CBS News. "It's back to knuckling at about 30mph."  He was not involved in the design but has tested the ball. Another important factor, he says, is the amount of friction between the ball and the player's boot. Dr Mehta explained that when a relatively smooth ball with seams flies through the air without much spin, the air close to the surface is affected by the seams, producing an asymmetric flow. This asymmetry creates forces that can suddenly knock the ball, causing volatile swoops.

Those who are familiar with the cricket ball know that seams and rough surfaces play a crucial role in how the bowler can make it swing in flight, a technique pioneered by Pakistan's Waqar Younis.  Knuckle ball technique used by some Baseball pitchers is similar. The use of seams and roughness of the ball are tools for the bowler or pitcher but a menace for the batsman or batter at the other end.

Here's a video about Sialkot factory manufacturing Brazuca:

Adidas Brazuca being made in Pakistan by Lahorevideos
Related Links:

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Johnson-Ali Model of Success in Olympics

Commonwealth Games 2010

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IPL Mixes Business, Sports and Entertainment

Pak Cricket Needs Top Batting Coach and Sports Psychologist


Monis said...

Impressive curving ability during flight. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into its design. I've been admiring is dynamics during the matches.

Javed said...

Also these are machine stitched whilst the other was hand

Riaz Haq said...

Javed: "Also these are machine stitched whilst the other was hand"

There's no stitching. Brazuca's 6 propeller shaped panels are thermally bonded

Siraj said...

I was not knowing this Riaz. I was happy to read this --

Looking at how busy they are in competing with each other in propagating depressing news it is no wonder Pakistan TV channels and press media have little time to portray such news items.

Or was I not very attentive?

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-made World Cup 2014 soccer ball starts football fever now sweeping Pakistan:

While Lyari remain the leaders when it comes to the Fifa World Cup fan-following, other regions of Pakistan are only some distance behind in their fervent passion for the tournament.
The spectacle seems more of a movement than a sports event for the youth – and even the older fans – in the country.

Two of such examples are Chaman and Quetta, where the fans are quick to assure that their dedication to football is no less than what is witnessed in Lyari.
“We have nothing but football,” former national captain Essa Khan told The Express Tribune from Chaman. “Everyone is glued to the big screen. In Chaman, we have three places where screenings are taking place and people gather around.
“In my own club we have a screen, and until the last match, we had approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people congregated at just one venue. It speaks volumes about how my city feels about the sport.”
Meanwhile, Essa said that Thursdays are the most crowded days, and fans pour out to watch the matches till the morning.

“It’s all overwhelming. In Chaman, we actually don’t have any other sport. It’s amazing how this crowd stays even if everyone can’t see the screen. They’ll hear the commentary, even if they don’t understand it. But they stick around all night till dawn, discussing the results after the match.”
Similarly, traders coming from the Afghan border also stay. Essa says every single World Cup match has been screened at his academy and spectators showed up every time.
Meanwhile in Quetta, former national player Jadeed Khan said that the football fans have brought their jerseys and are following matches religiously.
“There aren’t any big screenings in the city due to the law-and-order situation, but we all gather around to see our favourite teams play,” said Jadeed.
Islamabad catches up on sleep during the day
According to Islamabad Football Association officials Zaklir Naqvi, the World Cup fever has grown exponentially in the city.
“The best example that I can give is that we were having a seven-a-side tournament last week, and most of the players would show up sleepy in the day, because they were up watching the World Cup matches,” elaborated Naqvi.

“The World Cup is a part of life at the moment; most of the youngsters and even players are either playing or watching football, even the girls. There are screenings in Islamabad too.”
Laiba, an eight-year-old-girl in Islamabad, plays football every morning on the streets.
She said that even though she has no idea about the rules of the game, she knows that as a goalkeeper, it is her job to ensure that the ball needs to be stopped from passing the goal-line made by pieces of rock.
Peshawar lags behind
PAF football club coach Arshad Khan says that the craze has not picked up in Peshawar yet....

Riaz Haq said...

England, Italy and Spain are out of the World Cup in the first round in Brazil.

It seems Brazuca lets any player, even ordinary ones, bend it like Beckham...neutralizing the advantages more skilled players have.

It's full of upsets and surprises!!! Is it German-designed Pakistan-made Brazuca ball playing tricks????

Riaz Haq said...

In one of the oldest, poorest neighborhoods in the Pakistani megacity of Karachi, a place known mostly for the violence and gang warfare that have ravaged the area since the late 1990s, there is another legacy that goes much further back: soccer.

Cricket dominates Pakistan's sporting world. But here in Lyari, a Karachi slum, soccer is king — especially during the World Cup finals.

On a recent Saturday, in dozens of spots around the neighborhood, people bring television sets and projectors into the street to watch the knockout match between Brazil and Chile. Others head to a nearby sports complex for a screening, where hundreds of adults and kids arrive toting mats and picnic baskets.

Lyari is in love with Brazil.

Almost everyone here supports the Brazilian team, and residents proudly point out that the neighborhood has been labeled “mini-Brazil" thanks to its fervor.

“God willing, Brazil will win today and it will keep on winning," says one boy sitting on the ground surrounded by his friends. Other boys express their admiration for their hero, Neymar, a star Brazilian forward.

Karachi's roots in soccer go back to the days of the British Empire. As one of British India's key seaports in the early twentieth century, many ships carrying European sailors would dock here. In their free time, visiting sailors played soccer near the harbor and would invite locals to join them.

“This became a tradition — that whenever sailors came, these people used to go there and play with them,” says Nadir Shah Adil, a veteran journalist from Lyari.

While much of Pakistan took on the British game of cricket, says Adil, people in Lyari chose soccer. It wasn't just because of the European sailors, though. Soccer was also a much more affordable sport for poor Lyari residents.

As for the overwhelming support for Brazil, Adil believes the people here feel an ethnic affinity with Brazilians. Like many Brazilian players, a large number of Lyari residents have African roots as a result of the slave trade.

“They feel great resemblance when they see that Pele is just as they are," Adil says. "They feel similarity, and a sentimental attachment, when they see Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos or Adriano.”

The attachment to the Brazilian players is not just sentimental. Lyari is also known as a breeding ground for some of Pakistan's biggest soccer stars. At the match screening, there were several current and former professional players watching the game.

Riaz Haq said...

One City in Pakistan Makes Nearly Half of the World's Soccer Balls

It would seem a given that efficiency-enhancing technologies spread rapidly, seeing as smoother production often leads to higher profits. That’s not always the case, though: A 2008 survey of the past two centuries found that on average, countries have adopted revolutionary technologies such as steel production and electricity 47 years after they were invented. How and why technology spreads—or rather, doesn’t spread—is a bit of a mystery.

For example, why did so many soccer ball factories continue to use an inefficient cutting mechanism when there was a better one out there? That's the question that a team of researchers from Yale, Columbia, and LSE (that's Lahore, not London) tried to answer in a study of Sialkot, Pakistan, where 40 percent of the world's soccer balls are produced.


Today, more than 100 firms produce soccer balls in Sialkot, a city of 1.6 million. Since Sialkot faces tight competition from China and East Asia, the team of researchers figured that manufacturers would be hungry for technologies to make their plants more efficient. After happening upon a new manufacturing process that would increase profit margins by about 13 percent—it involved changing the arrangement of pentagons on a sheet of artificial leather in a way that reduced waste—they wanted to know how quickly the method would spread. They introduced it to a control group of firms. They waited.

But after 15 months, only five of the 35 factories in the control group adopted the technology—a rate the working paper calls “puzzlingly low.” So the team put on hold its original question and started investigating why the technology didn’t catch on. They noticed that one firm outside of the control group adopted the new pentagon arrangement, and that the firm did something most others didn’t: What was going on with that one firm? It turns out, that firm paid its workers by the hour, rather than by the ball. The researchers hypothesized that a worker paid per ball might be resistant to trying out a new technology because, in the short run, as they were learning to use it, it would slow down their productivity and decrease their earnings.

In hopes of erasing the workers' short-run qualms and encouraging them to share innovative information, the team offered them an extra month's worth of wages on the condition that they learned how to use the new cutting technology. After this cash infusion, the researchers saw the probability of adoption increase from 16 percent to 48 percent. This lump sum, which they considered “small from the point of view of the firm,” was the extra push needed for adoption.

The best explanation for this, according to Eric Verhoogen, a professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and an author of the paper, is that without the lump sum, the incentives of the worker and the company don't match up. “The general lesson is that workers have to share in the gains for innovation to be successful,” Verhoogen says. In fact, the workers’ incentives were so far divorced from those of their managers that some workers lied to their superiors about the technology’s efficacy in order to prevent its adoption. (Naïf that I am, I found this surprising. Verhoogen didn’t. “What I was surprised about is not so much that workers might try to mislead their managers, but that their managers would believe them,” he says.)

Riaz Haq said...

Business has suddenly picked up for Sialkoti sportswear manufacturer Mohammad Waseem*. His secret? 3D printing.

“We are using 3D printing to improve our product designs. We are now able to send accurate product samples to our overseas clients,” Waseem says.

The city of Sialkot houses Pakistans sports goods industry. Some manufacturing is set up as a cottage industry, drawing entire families in the trade. Other manufacturing is medium and large-scale. Together, Sialkots sports goods industry contributes the second-largest share in revenue for Pakistan.

For men like Waseem, 3D printing has provided a leg up. Whereas once the process of enlisting a client and procuring orders was lengthy and often imprecise, 3D printing has enabled Waseem to send an exact sample of what the client will get in return for their investment. When dealing with an overseas client, such precision is often profitable.

Waseem attributes much of his success to — a Lahore-based company that describes itself as “Pakistan’s first 3D Print House”. This company has been researching and developing racing motorcycle boots and shin pads in flexible materials — all of which promise to boost Pakistans economy.

According to Omar T Aslam, director at, Pakistan has a rich tradition of manufacturing but lacks high-end technical skills and resources for 3D printing that could push the industry to the next level. “3D printing technology can, and often does, reduce time and cost to market by 50 percent,” argues Aslam.
“I am really impressed by the capabilities of the 3D printer we bought,” says Waseem. “We now have a professional 3D printer, which is being used on almost a daily basis.”

And it’s not only the sports goods manufacturing sector that has employed 3D printers. Aslam claims that his clients include those from the medical, industrial tooling, and automotive sectors as well. There They are 3D printing master patterns for foundries, which include tooling for water pump manufacturing. Then there is 3D modelling of construction projects for architect firms. But the one that stands out the most is reminiscent of Will Smith’s I Robot-like 3D printed robotic arm, which was built for a NUST student’s final-year project.

The way 3D printing technology is progressing, it is evident that the new industrial revolution is here. From printing trinkets to fully functional, living human organs; the potential of this technology is endless, restricted only by the limits of our imagination.

Oh, and do you know what else you can make with a 3D printer? A 3D printer. They can be used to replicate themselves. Using something to make anything — now that’s something we definitely never thought was possible.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi-loving #Hindu Nationalists troll Royal Enfield for selling ‘Made in #Pakistan’ motorcycle riding gear

Royal Enfield draws flak from Tweeple for selling ‘Made in Pakistan’ jackets
Eicher Motors-owned Royal Enfield, which is the oldest motorcycle brand from India in continuous production, has been importing and selling riding gear from a manufacturer based in Sialkot Pakistan.

Twitter has been abuzz with strong disapproval of bike-maker Royal Enfield’s business relations with a Pakistan-based riding apparel maker which is a supplier for the automaker's biker jackets and gloves.

Comments have ranged from benign condemnation to outright nastiness with one tweeple even going as far as to use a four-letter word, calling the tie-up a 'heartbreak'.

For over four years now, Eicher Motors-owned Royal Enfield, which is the oldest motorcycle brand from India in continuous production, has been importing and selling riding gear from a manufacturer based in Sialkot Pakistan.

Pakistan-based Pilot Sewing Corporation makes fashion jackets, racer gloves, bike pants and leather vests among several other products for many bike-making companies, one of which is Delhi-based Royal Enfield.

While Eicher has been importing leather jackets and leather gloves from this Pakistani company since the past few years it seems buyers became aware of it only recently.

Many people posted pictures of the manufacturing tags and labels of these imported products on the micro-blogging site Twitter expressing their displeasure.

Riaz Haq said...

World #soccer stars Ronaldinho, Giggs in #Pakistan for #football exhibition matches via @usatoday

Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs were among soccer stars to arrive in Pakistan on Saturday to play exhibition matches which organizers hope will boost the sport in the country.

Dutchman George Boateng, former France players Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka, former England goalkeeper David James and Portugal's Luis Boa Morte flew in via private jet to the capital Islamabad.

Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa hosted a reception, saying "sports promote peace," before players flew out to Karachi for the first seven-a-side exhibition match later Saturday amid heavy security.

The tour has been organized by a private company, World Group, aiming to promote football in Pakistan, which is No. 200 out of 211 in FIFA rankings.

Lahore will host the second exhibition match on Sunday.

Pakistan has not hosted a major foreign team in any sports since an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in Lahore in 2009.

"For us it's a big moment," Pakistan football captain Kaleemullah said. "We didn't ever dream that such big stars will come to Pakistan. I grew up watching Ronaldinho on television and I still can't believe it, he's in Pakistan."

The 37-year-old Ronaldinho said in a statement he was "excited at the prospect of playing in Pakistan."

Cricket is the major sport in Pakistan, but English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga soccer have attracted a growing following among younger fans.

Tickets were priced from 2,000 to 30,000 rupees ($280) with 1,000 free tickets for young people in Karachi.

Manchester United has a large following in Pakistan.

"Pakistani fans have not seen (international) players. This is a great opportunity to see footballers live and in their home country," former United great Giggs told Geo Television in Dubai before flying in a private jet to Pakistan.

Back in Karachi, young fans had started arriving at the stadium — heavily guarded by army soldiers — hours before the match. The stadium was decorated with giant-sized billboards of the foreign players.

Television footage showed the players escorted by armed soldiers in a convoy as they left Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia to use #Pakistan-made #footballs in 2018 world cup. #FIFAWorldCup #soccer #FIFA18

When millions of football lovers cheer on their favourite teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia this summer, Pakistanis will have a special reason to rejoice, although the 198th-ranked football nation will not be participating in the mega event.

Pakistan's famous footballs will be used in the World Cup matches, making over 200 million Pakistanis feel their presence in the event.

Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov confirmed earlier in the week that his country was going to use Pakistan-made footballs for the World Cup matches.

Located on the outskirts of northeastern Sialkot city, workers at a local sports company - which is a contracting manufacturer of global sports brand Adidas - are working extra hours to ensure on-time delivery of the footballs.

The city, which borders India, 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.

Refusing to give the exact numbers of footballs the company is going to supply for the World Cup alone due to restrictions from Adidas, 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.

Before that, Pakistan had supplied hand stitched football for almost all the World Cups from the 1990s to 2010.

Other types of footballs produced in Sialkot are glued balls and hand stitched balls.

Thermo bonded balls are made by attaching the panels through heat - the latest technology adopted by Adidas and transferred to Forward Sports in 2013.

"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]," Khawaja told Anadolu Agency.

According to Husnain Cheema, president of the Pakistan Sports Goods Association, the country will export around 10 million footballs across the world this year.


Local manufacturers observe that the country’s sports goods industry has a potential to triple the existing earnings from exports.

"We are going to introduce football kits and other accessories apart from exporting footballs," Ijaz Khokhar, head of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Anadolu Agency.

He said his association had a plan to set up a technical training institute in Sialkot to create trained manpower for production of other accessories, which could earn much more for Pakistan compared with exports of footballs and other sports goods.

"Huge football production business is being transferred from China to Pakistan because of the quality we are providing to the world," Khokhar said, adding that Pakistan had to makes use of this opportunity.

Iqbal defended Khokhar's view saying China was producing machine-stitched footballs, which were only used as "toys".

"These footballs cannot be used in professional matches. Our quality standards are way better than China's football production," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Re-stitching the economy
Pakistan faces a currency crisis. Who will help?
China would probably rather supplement help from the IMF than supplant it

IN 1918 a British army officer brought his frayed football to be repaired at a factory in Sialkot, a city in what is now Pakistan. Although more accustomed to making tennis racquets and cricket bats, a local artisan was nonetheless able to restitch the ball and, even better, replicate it, according to the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Over the next 100 years, the city has prospered as a manufacturing hub, making surgical, leather and sporting goods. It exported over 920 tonnes of sports balls in the first three months of 2018, according to Sialkot Dry Port Trust. It is even the source of the (stitch-less) Adidas footballs that will be trapped, dribbled and passed in the World Cup beginning this week.

Despite this sporting contribution, however, Pakistan’s exports as a whole have lagged behind the country’s aspirations. Its import bill, including onerous payments for oil, has expanded uncomfortably, raising its current-account deficit to 5.3% of GDP this fiscal year (which ends this month), according to Standard Chartered, a bank. That, in turn, has put heavy pressure on the rupee. It stumbled by about 5% during trading on June 11th, the third big drop since December.

This was described as a deliberate “devaluation” by almost everyone but the central bank, which maintains that the currency is left largely to market forces, even as it has squandered its foreign-exchange reserves (down from $19bn in 2016 to $10bn this month) in an effort to prop it up. This fear of falling probably reflected political pressure from the outgoing government, which saw a strong rupee as a sign of economic prowess. It completed its term at the end of May and will contest a general election on July 25th. In the meantime, the country is in the hands of a technocratic “caretaker government”. It is a good moment, then, to let the currency slip.

It may slip further. The oil price remains painfully high and the central bank’s fire-power is even more limited than the headline data suggest: if its hard-currency liabilities are deducted from its hard-currency assets, its “net” foreign-exchange reserves are now negative, points out Bilal Khan of Standard Chartered (see chart).

Riaz Haq said...

Re-stitching the economy
Pakistan faces a currency crisis. Who will help?
China would probably rather supplement help from the IMF than supplant it

When Pakistan has previously found itself in this predicament, it has turned to the IMF for help. The country’s policymakers are adamant they will not do so again. Many Pakistanis are expecting help from an alternative source instead: China. They believe their eastern ally is bound to step in, if only because it is partly responsible for their plight. According to this view, the deteriorating balance of payments reflects heavy spending on imported materials for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a string of ambitious transport and energy projects that form part of China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative.

This argument probably overstates both China’s culpability and its generosity. China is not chiefly responsible for the decline in Pakistan’s dollar reserves, because the higher import spending entailed by the CPEC has been accompanied by greater lending from Beijing. To put it crudely, China has invited Pakistan to spend Chinese loans on Chinese goods. Eventually, those loans will need to be repaid, of course, which could pose problems if the CPEC investments earn disappointing returns. But eventually is not now.

The problems of the present originate elsewhere. As well as higher energy costs, they reflect loose fiscal policy and rapidly growing domestic credit. Fixing these will require some combination of lower government spending, higher interest rates and a cheaper currency. Although China will not want to see Pakistan go bust, it will not want to dictate its macroeconomic policies either. That is the IMF’s job. China, then, is more likely to supplement an IMF programme than supplant one.

Politicians will lament Pakistan’s loss of economic independence, but similar objections have not prevailed in the past. Between 2001 and 2013 Pakistan turned to the IMF three times. In fact, there were as many IMF bail-outs of the country over that period as there were World Cups. Apparently, it’s time for another one.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan: the other great home of the #bagpipes. At the world bagpipe championship, which is held every year in #Glasgow, #Pakistani bands are “the most beautifully dressed". #music #Scotland #Sialkot | The Japan Times

Umer Farooq’s grandfather and father made bagpipes. Now he is the third generation to take up the tradition in Pakistan, which is thousands of kilometers from Scotland yet sells thousands of bagpipes each year.

The fresh smell of wood floats through the Mid East factory in Sialkot, on the eastern side of Punjab province, where Farooq is one of the managers. Workers are busy standing or sitting on the ground.

Covered in sawdust, they carve the wood and polish it. Rosewood or ebony serve as the blowstick, into which players exhale. The drones — long pipes with a lower tone — follow a similar process.

They are then attached to a bag, and often covered with tartan, a colored plaid fabric typical of Scotland.

“In my family, all the boys know how to make a bagpipe, step by step,” said Farooq.

“When we were 7 or 8, we would go to the factory. It was like a school, but the teachers were our dads and uncles.”

Honing such a craft is not easy.

South Asia has had for centuries its pungi, a wind instrument used for snake charming, and shehnai, a traditional oboe.

The bagpipe arrived in the mid-19th century when British colonialists brought it to subcontinental India, of which Pakistan was a part before independence in 1947.

“Anywhere the British Army went, they took pipers with them,” said Decker Forrest, a Gaelic music teacher at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland.

Locals seized on the tradition, which remains popular, with dozens of bagpipe bands available for weddings and religious festivals.

“People love the bagpipe,” said Yaser Sain, the leader of a Sialkot trio who play at least two performances each day.

Proudly he shows pictures on his mobile phone of the band in colorful costumes.

Forrest said Pakistani bands put the emphasis on how they look, rather than musical technique, “which is less important to them.” At the world bagpipe championship, which is held every year in Glasgow, they are “the most beautifully dressed,” he said. The kilt, however, is not de rigueur among the Pakistanis.

The Pakistani military, born out of the colonial British Indian Army, also still has a soft spot for the instrument.

In 2014 it established a camel-mounted bagpipe band attached to a unit of desert rangers. The camels, draped in scarlet and gold as their musicians sway above them, are particularly appreciated during parades.

But Pakistan’s main affiliation with bagpipes is its mass production of them, though the quality of the instruments it makes can vary.

Some 2,600 are exported from the Mid East factory each year, mainly to the United States. The M.H. Geoffrey & Co. workshop, also in Sialkot, claims to manufacture a further 500 annually. Its owner, Zafar Iqbal Geoffrey, estimates that when contributions from dozens of small- and medium-size businesses in the city are counted, Sialkot can produce a total of 10,000 bagpipes a year.

That is more than any country other than the United Kingdom.

“Bagpipes are our roaming ambassadors. This is good not only for the economy, but for the image-building of Pakistan,” said Waqas Akram Awan, vice president of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce.

The city’s exports for 2017 — a 15-year record of $4 million for thousands of instruments — underscores his comment.

“Our instruments are the same as the European ones, but they are much cheaper. We make music more accessible,” said Umar Farooq’s uncle Muhammad Aftab.

Cheap labor means Pakistani bagpipes are priced less expensively than ones made in Scotland, with Mid East’s going for around £300 ($390) in Britain, compared to £900 ($1,170) for instruments made in Scotland.

Riaz Haq said...

New PFF technical director Limones to create #footballing identity for #Pakistan.The Spaniard was introduced by the Pakistan #Football Federation (PFF) Normalization Committee as its new technical director, a job he likened to working on a ‘blank canvas’.

He might have been associated with Atletico Madrid for the last several years but Daniel Limones’ coaching philosophy is less Cholismo and more Tiki-Taka.

The Spaniard was on Wednesday unveiled by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) Normalisation Committee as its new technical director, a job he likened to working on a ‘blank canvas’.

For more than half of the last decade, Pakistan football has been marred by crisis and controversy. It led to FIFA appointing a Normalisation Committee to oversee the affairs of the PFF last year, the mandate of which expires in December. Limones’ contract too is till then.

A head coach at several teams in the women’s first division in Spain at the start of his career before joining Spanish giants Atletico where he worked in different capacities, Limones has six months to show what he’s about and, maybe, earn an extension when the freshly elected PFF set up comes in.

Good thing for Limones, who has been in Lahore for the last two years as the head coach of Atletico Madrid Academia, is that he doesn’t have big shoes to fill with Pakistan never having had someone as qualified as him or rather someone who did wonders in that role.

Add to the fact that the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has brought sports to a halt in the country, Limones can set up a blueprint for the country to play the game whenever football eventually resumes.

“The aim is to promote a national identity in football,” Limones told reporters during a virtual news conference on Wednesday after his appointment was announced. “And make sure that the players identify with that idea.”

That idea will have some of Cholismo but more of Tiki-Taka.

Cholismo was introduced to Atletico by their talismanic coach Diego Simeone, whose arrival at the club in December 2011 transformed the club from also-rans to one of Spain’s best alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona.

After knocking out defending champions Liverpool out of the Champions League in March this year, Simeone claimed Cholismo meant ‘playing to win’, a style that involves detailed tactical organisation most notably in defence with players willing run and fight aggressively to launch quick counterattacks.

It’s not as pleasing to the eye as Barca’s signature Tiki-Taka, a style of play characterised by short passing and movement with a focus on keeping possession, but maybe Pakistan teams across all levels could learn a thing of two from Cholismo with leaky defences having caused much heartache over the last several decades.

“The first team [at Atletico] played a certain style but it isn’t what is preached at the academy,” said Limones when asked whether Cholismo was something he was looking to introduce as a blueprint for national teams to play in his role as technical director.

“I’m more for keeping possession, making passes and I see a system in which we can make the players more safe in both attacking and defensive transitions,” added Limones, a UEFA Pro-License holder who joined Atletico as a methodology supervisor for its age-group teams in 2016 before becoming their sports complex coordinator.

Since September 2018, Limones has been in Pakistan as the coach and manager at the Atletico Academy. In that role, he’s had a look at local talent and the football system that exists in the country.

“We have liquid gold [that we need to solidify] in terms of talent,” he said. “We have to start on grassroots and bringing in kids to play football and grow up with an understanding of the game.

Riaz Haq said...

The official match-ball for the FIFA World Cup 2022, named, ‘Al Rihla’ was unveiled by FIFA recently. Made in Pakistan, Al-Rihla is manufactured by the second largest sports manufacturer in the world, Adidas. Pakistan has been the official makers of the official match-ball since the 1982 FIFA World Cup. However, Pakistan did not provide the footballs for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup.

‘Al Rihla’ translates as ‘the journey’ in Arabic and according to Adidas, it incorporates the architecture, iconic boats, and the flag of the host nation, Qatar. The match-ball was launched by former World Cup winners, Iker Casillas and Kaka in a glittering ceremony in Doha, Qatar.