Recently, Team Propergaanda reached out to Faizan Sameer (@faizan.sameer), the manager of Team Eighteen who garnered everyone’s attention for becoming the 1st Pakistani to complete UEFA’s football management certificate course, that too with a distinction! Despite wide interest in the sport among youth, football keeps getting ignored by national authorities, but Faizan Sameer here has a complete plan mapped out and won’t settle unless Pakistan plays for the FIFA World Cup.
When did you get into football and what sparked your interest?
Faizan’s father used to play football and what contributed more to his interest was watching French footballer Zaidan playing in the 2006 World Cup, “I was living in a boarding school at that time and we were allowed to watch TV once a week. That’s where it all started.”
The beginning of Team Eighteen. The idea behind it and how things really work there?
Faizan clarified that Team 18 is not just a football team, it’s a full-fledged CSR initiative, “The CEO first came to the country himself and paid boys to play futsal under the banner of the company. We also facilitated the players academically,” adding that one player is pursuing his Masters in Canada whereas another went to Turkey for trials, “It’s not just football, we also have squash players, and a polo team as well.”
Despite numerous football clubs and a wide interest in the sport, why do you think the authorities continue to ignore its potential in Pakistan?
There are several football clubs in the country and the youth is all in for it, then why is the sport getting ignored? Faizan says that corrupt officials in the federation are responsible for this blunder, “It’s FIFA that sends you money to develop a football team. Now if you keep using that fund for your personal benefits, of course at one point they’d stop sending you any.”
“One time, someone commented under my feed post that India has been investing their money in developmental projects. Aur humne sirf woh paise khayen hain,” shared Faizan. He says that the government needs to understand that football teams are directly associated with FIFA, and they cannot interfere in those matters, “We are supposed to work accordingly with the laws and guidelines of FIFA, and if we violate those, obviously they’d ban us,” adding that, according to the association, it’s mandatory to work on their assigned projects which includes club registration, grassroot development, building youth academies, women football, and the list goes.
What is your vision and how do you plan to shape football’s future in Pakistan?
“In my final report submitted to UEFA, I clearly stated my vision and that is to make sure that Pakistan plays in the FIFA World Cup in the next 16 years,” Faizan stated. Not just this, he has a complete action plan, smart objectives aligned with the current situation, “If I’m given the right opportunity, I assure you that we all can work towards the betterment of football in Pakistan.” We asked him what’s the 1st step towards this aim, “We need to do some grassroot level work first and focus on our coach education. There’s a coach philosophy that needs to be followed unanimously in every club, no matter what level they are playing at.”
You are now the first Pakistani to complete UEFA football management course, that too with a distinction! How do you plan to utilise this achievement further?
Faizan clarifies that his UEFA certification in football management is not just about coaching, a lot of things fall under its umbrella like world football management, strategic development, marketing sponsorship, communication and PR, and that’s what he got a distinction in, “I’d like people to know this and the purpose of studying this course is to learn everything about football and implement it as it is in Pakistan.”