The Pakistan team is currently preparing for the Street Child Football World Cup in Doha, Qatar, next month.
One of the players in Pakistan squad is 16-year-old goalkeeper Sahil Khattak, who is inspired by renowned German and Bayern Munich shot-stopper Manuel Neuer. It must be noted that the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winner has also won the UEFA Champions League, twice, with the Bavarians.
Sahil, who hails from a village named Chhab in Jand Tehsil of Attock District, is eager to do well in the event for Pakistan.
Football runs in the family for Sahil, since his father was also a goalkeeper back in the day. The youngster has been playing football regularly since 2013 at local level.
“I’m hopeful about performing well for Pakistan and will do my best to bring the trophy home,” Sahil told SAMAA Digital.
Belonging from a humble background, like most of his teammates, Sahil didn’t have the resources to develop his game in his hometown. However, Muslim Hands Pakistan, a charity organisation operating worldwide, came to his rescue and provided him the opportunity to pursue the game he loves the most.
“I am from a poor family but I’m thankful to Muslim Hands for providing me the platform to fulfill my dreams,” he said. “I didn’t have the money to travel to Islamabad for trials but Muslims Hands took care of everything.”
The squad is currently training under the watchful eye of Coach Rasheed in a camp in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, for the past six months.
Sahil also thanked Sayed Zulfi Bukhari, former Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, for his continued support. He also dreams about meeting former premier Imran Khan, who was a legendary cricketer before joining politics.
The Street Child World Cup, which will take place from October 8-15, will bring street-connected young people from across the world together to take part in a football tournament.
This will be the fourth Street Child football World Cup, with the first three editions taking place in South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018).
Pakistan have a good track record at the tournament with impressive performance in the previous two events. Uzbekistan beat Pakistan in the final of the Street Child Football World Cup during the tournament’s last edition in 2018. Also, Pakistan finished in third place during the 2014 event.