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January 11, 2019

Figo, Kaka launch World Soccer Stars event


January 11, 2019

KARACHI: The world’s iconic footballers Luis Figo of Portugal and Ricardo Kaka of Brazil formally launched the World Soccer Stars 2019 here on Thursday.

The duo will be part of the April 26-29 event, involving scores of other global stars. The matches will be held in Karachi and Lahore.

“There is a great passion for football here. We have come here to help develop the sport in the country. Today we did a lot of promotion and we will come back next April for the World Soccer Stars, an event which will have better players and you will enjoy that,” Figo said. Kaka, who became part of Brazil 2002 World Cup winning squad when he was just 20, has been impressed by Pakistan and its people.

“Thank you very much for warm welcome. First it has really been a great experience. So I will come back again in April. But I had a very good impression of the country and it’s people,” the 36-year old former Real Madrid player said. The duo also advised Pakistani footballers to be focused on their job if they wanted to achieve anything big in their careers.

“It’s difficult to give advice. But I think for the youngsters whenever you are in a position to follow your dreams try to work hard to achieve your goals. I think if you work hard with dedication and emotion it’s more easy to achieve what you want.

The rest of the things rest with the country, the clubs, the government and all the people to create facilities and opportunities for the youngsters to help them achieve their goals at professional level,” Figo, the 46-year old former Portugal skipper who guided his side to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals, said.

Meanwhile Kaka advised youngsters to keep dreaming and run after dreams.“The advice to the Pakistani youngsters is to dream and run after your dream. Because a lot of people here have a lot of dreams but a lot of people here don’t run after their dreams. This is just a little piece of advice for these guys. If they have dreams to play top level football then they should go after their dreams fulfilled and create opportunities towards success,” Kaka said. Both former Real Madrid players also echoed the same views about FIFA’s decision of expanding the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams.

“It’s like a decision which we will have to see how it works. But more teams mean probably more places. The teams which don’t have the possibility right now to play in World Cup they will have more opportunities to participate in the World Cup. It will generate much more money and that money should be invested at the grass-root level, in federations around the world to enable them to create more facilities for the new generation to play this sport,” Figo said.

Kaka also hopes Pakistan would also get benefit of the teams’ expansion in World Cup.“Each time we have changes. But I think we have to try. More countries will come and so more people. But I think it’s a good opportunity for countries like Pakistan to become part of the biggest event not only for the team but for the people to become part of the very big event. We hope to see Pakistan in the next World Cup,” Kaka said.

Kaka also hoped to see Pakistan’s football flourishing. “I know that football is not the most popular sport here. I think it’s cricket. But I think this tour is opening the door to give to these guys the opportunities. Lot of investment is coming to football from the government and the private sector as well and that will help,” Kaka said.

Both also put their weight behind the importance of their club and national commitment.“I think it’s a different situation. When you play for your country you defend all your population. All people of your country are behind you. And of-course playing for a club you play for supporters. But I think both are very important because sometimes you pass through some difficult moment and you can play every week-end with your national team. And sometimes it helps you to get more confidence for the rest of the season,” Figo said.

Meanwhile Akon, R&B Grammy award winning artist will perform during the World Soccer Stars 2019.“It is time to rock Pakistan. I am looking forward to visiting Karachi and Lahore. So let’s get it down in Pakistan with World Soccer Stars,” Akon has been quoted as saying. TouchSky Group (TSG) is managing the tour.

Pakistan football team captain Saddam Hussain had been given the back seat, much to the surprise of everyone. It was only on the insistence of a sports journalist that Saddam was brought onto the stage not only to exchange words with the global stars but also gifted them his Pakistan’s jersey.

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