Pakistan remains as an untapped market for the world of football and with the launch of an academy in partnership with Atletico Madrid, the future generation can finally dream bigger.
In October of last year, ProPakistani broke the news that Atletico Madrid has decided to form their football academy in Pakistanand today, the news has been officially verified as well.
According to the details, the academy will open in Lahore later this month. The name of the academy has been decided as Atletico De Madrid Academia in Pakistan.
Academy's Vision For Pakistani Football Youth
In a discussion, Atletico's spokesperson tabled the entire strategy their academy wants to follow.
He claimed that all the talented children from all over the Pakistan will be able to train under the guidance of Spanish coaches.
In three to five years' time, the academy wants to see player progression to Pakistan's youth team.
Following that, next would be to play for Atletico Madrid in the near future.
People Responsible For Making This Happen
Lahore businessman, Muhammad Atta Tanseer, and his cousin Omer Sheikh are the two people behind this landmark partnership between Pakistan and Atletico Madrid.
Being passionate football fans, Atta and Omer both have dedicated their valuable time to improve the standard and build a profile of football in Pakistan.
Unsuccessful Talks With Real Madrid
While talking to an international news outlet, Omer Sheikh claimed that before Atletico Madrid, they were in talks with their arch-rivals Real Madrid for the same initiative but there was no end product to that.
We were in talks with Real Madrid in 2015 and were negotiating with them for almost 2 years. It was really hard to get through to them, and they're a very big elite club. They don't listen much, they don't negotiate much, and they don't offer much as well.
Sheikh claims that they were 'laughed out of meetings' after they pitched their ideas to the Los Blancos' directors.
Focusing on Atletico Madrid
Driven by passion and unwilling to return Pakistan empty handed, they both switched their focus to Atletico, who were more than keen on establishing a dialogue.
Atta and Omer both pitched their ideas again and brought up the fact that they have already been running a successful business, named Summatus Sports, which is geared towards 'social transformation of values through sports.' Through their venture, more than a hundred children had already received training.
Following the meeting, Atletico Madrid made several visits to Lahore on their own expense and were massively impressed.
The Spanish-based club then proceeded to survey and evaluate every detail including location, facility, talent and demographic to conclude that the deal was good-to-go.
It was decided that Summatus Sports will be the parent company whereas everything else will be branded under Atletico's name.
Atta Tanseer, in a recent interview, claimed:
The thought of working with a country that has revolutionised the game was the driving force to seeing this through, and was a strong driver in clinching the deal.
We are merely starting to scratch the surface of infinite talent that remains to be discovered and cultivated into world class competencies. We are opening the first academy in Lahore and also planning to open in Islamabad and Karachi. We will be holding training camps, clinics and training sessions in other major cities and towns of Pakistan as well.
Commendable Efforts From Atletico Madrid
To understand the dynamics of the country better, two Atletico coaches, Daniel Limones and Javier Visea, have been living in Gulberg, Lahore since September. They are focused on coaching newly recruited Pakistani coaches, scouting for talented young players and understanding the culture better.
Limeones claimed that they are on the brink of something new, as Pakistan is a completely untapped country in regards to football talent.
No professional team from Europe has started this project in Pakistan. We are the first, and it's a great opportunity. I think that we have an opportunity to do a lot of things here. Pakistan is a big country with a lot of people, more than 200 million. So in Atletico de Madrid, we thought that it could be a really good opportunity for us. We can find a lot of potential here and a lot of good players.
Jose Antonio Cachaza is La Liga's country manager in India, and he firmly backs Atletico's venture into Pakistan.
Atletico has been quite active getting into the Asian markets, such as China, Singapore, India and now Pakistan, where La Liga has a strong following. This also comes when we are starting to broadcast in Pakistan all La Liga matches live and free through Facebook, with very good fan responses.
The clubs are starting to look to the region in search of talent, so hopefully in the near future we'll have an Indian or Pakistani player starting for one of our clubs. Last year La Liga helped clubs like Real Betis, Eibar, Espanyol with several projects in the region. We also brought Girona for friendly matches in Kerala, last July with huge success.
This is indeed a moment to rejoice for the entire nation as Pakistan's future in the world of football might just achieve what we had only hoped for in dreams.
Source: Pro Pakistan