KARACHI: Leisure Leagues on Friday announced that former England and Former Chelsea skipper John Terry would also be in Ronaldinho’s squad which would land here after Eid-ul-Fitr to play an exhibition game against the best crop of Leisure Leagues Pakistan.
With this, the touring party has been completed. The other players had already been disclosed. They include Ronaldinho, his 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 and England’s David James.
The announcement was made by Shahzeb Mehmood Trunkwala, President World Group, at a briefing at a local hotel.
Also present were Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani, former President Mohammadmian Soomro, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain and Leisure Leagues Pakistan Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ishaq Shah.
The 36-year-old Terry was considered the greatest defender of his generation. He led England from August 2006 to February 2010 and then from March 2011 to February 2012.
He was named UEFA club defender of the year in 2005, 2008 and 2009, PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005 and was included in the FIFPro World XI for five successive seasons, from 2005 to 2009.
He was also named in the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only English player to make the team.
Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain, having led them to five Premier League crowns, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League title. He is one of the five players to have made over 500 appearances for Chelsea and is also the club’s all-time highest scoring defender.
In 2007, he became the first captain to lift the FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium in Chelsea’s 1–0 win over Manchester United and also the first player to score an international goal there, scoring a header in England’s 1–1 draw with Brazil.
“Bringing international players of this stature to Pakistan is a step towards building the country’s image in the world. We want to empower our local talent and create a platform that gives every individual a chance to play football and groom their skills,” Trunkwala said.
Raza Rabbani congratulated Trunkwala family and Leisure Leagues.
“I am glad to see the stellar line-up of Ronaldinho and friends and hope to see this venture go a long way,” he said.
“I congratulate Mehmood Trunkwala and Leisure Leagues and World Group team for taking this initiative. This is a turning point for the youth of Pakistan. Pakistan has immense talent. It is indeed a massive plan to have come from private sector,” Rabbani said.
Ishaq Shah said their aim was to ensure a nation-wide platform for football players in Pakistan. “We will provide complete infrastructure to sustain football as a sport in Pakistan,” he said.
He said more such events were being planned.
Trunkwala said that Leisure leagues would help players in Pakistan become international and get foreign scholarships and placements. Soomro termed the initiative a game changer.