Eight top footballers from around the world, including Brazilian legend Ronaldinho and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs, arrived in Pakistan on Saturday for two exhibition matches organized by Leisure League Pakistan.
Leisure Leagues is the largest global organizer of 5, 6 and 7-a-side football. Leisure Leagues has a considerably large footprint, having already organized leagues in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Leisure Leagues have also been operational in the Republic of Ireland and the United States.
Leisure Leagues set foot in Pakistan in 2016 and will be available in over 200 countries very soon. Leisure Leagues is affiliated to the UK Mini Football Association, the governing body for small sided football.
Ronaldinho and Friends, who entertained the soccer fans in Pakistan with the group of Pakistani players for two seven a side matches in Karachi and Lahore.
The list of the top of the line footballers includes Brazilian football celebrity Ronaldinho who was accompanied by Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning teammate, Roberto Carlos, former French midfielder Robert Pires, France’s Nicolas Anelka, Portugal’s Luis Boa Morte, Holland’s George Boateng, England’s David James and former Manchester United player Ryan Giggs.
On the other hand, Pakistani players in action with them will be Kaleemullah, Saddam Hussain, Saadullah, Yousuf Butt, Abdul Aziz, Muhammad Essa, Ghulam Rasool and star of street child football team Mohammad Razzik.
Karachi- Saturday 8th July 2017: At Abdul Sattar Stadium Ronaldinho-7 scored a goal against the Giggs-led team after a penalty. However, in the second quarter of the game, the team lost another penalty chance after facing objection from the referee. In the third quarter, team Ronaldinho extended their lead by scoring one more goal.
A dive from Robert Pires gave one more penalty chance to the Brazillian-led team, however, a brilliant save by David James did not allow Ronaldinho to score the penalty. Nicholas Anelka scored a breathtaking goal with assistance from Ryan Giggs and it appeared that Giggs-7 picked up momentum by scoring one more to equalize the game.
Lahore-Sunday 9th July 2017: In a packed Fortress Stadium Ronaldinho-7 won the second match of the seven-a-side series against Team Giggs to secure a series.
The first goal of the game was scored by Riaz who was assisted by Boa Morte. Hassan Bashir scored the second goal – courtesy a brilliant assist from Ronaldinho.
In the first quarter of the game courtesy a brilliant save from David James, Ronaldinho missed an easy chance to score his first goal of the two-match series.
A brilliant finish from Riaz from a chance made by Luis Boa Morte gave a one-goal lead to ‘Ronaldinho-7’ in the second quarter of the game, later, a beautiful chip from Ronaldinho missed the goal crossing line from few inches.
In the third and last quarter, a classic Ronaldinho assist helped Bashir to extend the lead by one more goal.
The Fortress Stadium was filled up with football fans to watch the match involving “Ronaldinho and friends”.
Later, Ronaldinho tweeted a photo captioned ‘Thanks, Pakistan’ in which the football legend is carrying the winning Swarovski trophy.
WHAT LEISURE LEAGUES OFFER?
- Match balls, Trained match officials, Playgrounds, Secured match atmospheres.
- A seamlessly organized online system (CMS) to view points-tables live, match results, player profiles, fixtures and team profiles.
- Against the fee, promising players will be provided with lucrative incentives, foreign scholarships, affiliation with international clubs and a chance to meet and share the field with Ronaldinho.
- Players will get a chance to participate in international Leisure Leagues.
It was an extraordinary significance for Pakistan to welcome international soccer legends in our country.
Thank you, Leisure Leagues, Nokia and every other sponsor who made this event possible.