Despite financial difficulties plaguing the club, Muslim FC manager Mohammad Dawood believes that hope and passion for football has kept driving it forward.
The club is playing its second season in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) and only narrowly managed to survive relegation last season. Muslim FC currently lie sixth in the league, an achievement Dawood is proud of, despite the lack of facilities or any stable income for his players.
Muslim FC have won seven matches, drew six and faced four defeats in the 17 matches they have played so far. According to Dawood, the remaining 13 matches at home will turn the tables for them and for a team that compromises mostly of players who are electricians and shopkeepers in their off-season days, finishing this season among the top three teams is the main objective.
“Chaman is a small place and my players don’t have the resources. The club is simply run on the hope and passion of the players,” Dawood told The Express Tribune. “For us, this club is a dream and not a source of income. We’re proving that bad facilities or lack of money can’t hinder the progress of football.”
Dawood added that his aim was to produce at least three to four players who can go on to represent the national team, saying that would be the club’s biggest achievement.
“My players are strong. We have not had any major injuries this season and I still have few surprise players waiting to play in the home matches.”
Meanwhile, captain Saeed Ahmed acknowledged the club’s financial problems but reiterated his commitment, saying he had turned down lucrative contracts from bigger clubs.
“We only earn through spectators, and we are proud of it,” said Ahmed. “I have been approached by bigger clubs and departments to play for them, but Muslim FC is a club where we work as a family. We want to continue inspiring local talent here with our philosophy.”
Striker Zabiullah, who switched from Afghan FC to Muslim FC, said that the difference in the two clubs is the approach to the game.
“I switched to Muslim FC because Afghan FC was not focusing on the players anymore,” said Zabiullah. “The management was ignorant. At Muslim FC, the approach is different. Players see that and want to join the club. It’s not just me — next season, four to five more players will be joining our club from Afghan FC. This is just the beginning for us.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2012.