A small ground in Mola Madad area of Lyari, filled with boys aged 10-15, wearing different jerseys, some wearing shoes and others barefoot, practicing a sport which they think could make them able to serve their nation. Some of them belong to the families living on breadline and know a fact that many of senior footballers who had given their best and spent their life for football have been ignored and didn’t get chance to play but they do practice and play football with a hope for everything to be better in future.
This is the story of United Academy, a football academy managed by some senior and expert football players and coaches of Lyari, located at water pump near Mola Madad of Lyari. A place, once useless, is now turned into a small ground to train the talent of Lyari. More than 80 football lovers are enrolled in this academy which runs without any financial support but they get the whole training for free.
Basit Ali, a footballer who has played international matches too, trains them daily from 5 pm to 7:15 pm since 2013 with only one mission to bring forth the good talent. The students are so enthusiastic, they come daily from different parts of Lyari. Most of them belong to the families living on breadline.
Kher Mohammad, the manager of academy said, “We are doing all these ourselves without pillar of strength. It’s the interest and enthusiasm of the players which motivates us to do more for them. I am thankful to Basit Ali and other coaches for their support. They come here daily to train the students despite being busy with their schedules. We want them to engage with sports instead of wasting their time in negative activities and mixing with bad company.”
Basit Ali, trainer of the football academy shared with us his opinion that supporting such academies will not only motivate the youth of Lyari but also bring talents forward for the departmental and national team.
Ali further said, “We get players with incredible talent but grooming them is another story. Some of them are playing barefoot as they can’t afford to buy one, still they come regularly. We want the people to see how much talent these kids have.”
While asking to the players about academy and their interest they said that coaches and trainers are doing their efforts without any charges from them or any support from others. They take care of them like their own children. They take time from their schedules and come to train us.
The players trained in this academy have participated in different tournaments and won many matches too. 6 players of this academy are part of recent Rangers Lyari Youth Festival’s football tournament. They are playing for UC 13. While I was interviewing them, good news came that UC 13 football team defeated UC 1 team by 2-0 where 6 players of UC 13 belong to this academy.
Lyari is prominent area talented football players. Football has always been a hobby for people here. The craze for football is this much high that one can see youngsters and sometimes elders too wearing football jerseys. Lyari has given a lot of players to Pakistan but right now arrangements and facilities for them on government or
non-government level are too low. This football academy needs our attention and support to continue the mission of fostering the talent. These kids need to be guided and taken forward. We would lose the battle if the concerned authorities would not take serious actions on supporting such academies.