| Feb 20, 2018
Youth League Highlights
The national anthem before the final kicks off!
One of the highlights of our Community Program is the annual Youth League that hosts teams from each location and includes competition for various age categories.
Over the last 6 years of operation, we have achieved relative success in engaging children and communities through football programs and life skills sessions. Not only has the participation given them a much needed outlet to release their energy but equally important is the reduction in their tendencies to join local gangs and indulge in society’s vices. However, in delivering our programs, we have observed that competition, the ideals of winning as a team, building stars and role models within communities is what truly provides entertainment, excitement and spreads the hope for significantly broader engagement of youth and community. Competition also allows us to provide a safe platform for various communities to interact. Amidst Karachi's ethnic divides, we feel this is good way to promote tolerance and respect. Competition on the pitch is also what gives the impetus to participants to establish goals for themselves, as a team, and as a community. A league sets the ideal stage to engage participants in a competitive environment whilst promoting lessons such as team work, discipline and tolerance across the multiple ethnic groups that our centers operate in. 2017 saw this initiative through its third cycle.
What We Hope To Achieve:
Our Youth League strives to become an annual pillar of competition whereupon all our participants can compete, interact, and engage with one another while still fighting for glory on the pitch. We believe that development efforts must be catered to long-term success and continuity, and that a platform such as this should exist every year as a part of our operations. Through the Youth League, we are trying to achieve the following:
1) Increasing participation and raising the standard of competition
2) Provide youth with a safe and healthy outlet whereupon they can engage with different communities and ethnicity, build tolerance, and foster a sense of unity amidst our divided culture
3) Create systems whereby we can carry out such a league every year
4) Foster public-private partnerships so that more entities invest in sport for development
Fatima: 15 years old and from Lyari, Fatima captained her team during the Youth League. She has been part of the Lyari Community Center since 2015, and has developed a passion for football that makes her stand out. Her talent was showcased during the league and with 6 goals to her name, she won the Top Goal Scorer trophy. Her skills were remarkable and she was offered a trial for the Women’s Team. The coaches were impressed with her attitude and her drive, and she has now been inducted to the Karachi United Women’s Team. Fatima inspires other girls in her school, and from the center she was a part of, to pursue their interest in sport.
Najeeb-Ullah: Najeeb-Ullah was part of the very first Youth League in 2014, and played in the U16 category from Lyari. His interest in the game and his experience in the league pushed him to remain closely involved with football and he became a coach for the same center he was from. This year, he coached the U12 squad from his Lyari center and his story inspires many young boys in his community. Having played the league himself, he truly strives to motivate his boys to see the benefits of competition, observe coaching methods, and develop the standard of the league itself.
Partnership with Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan Ltd.: This year’s league marked a successful effort to bring in corporate partners to help promote grassroots football for communities and set standards for how beneficial public-private partnerships can be for long-term sustainability. Standard Chartered Bank promotes football at the most elite levels of the sport, and for them to vertically integrate their approach towards development and local communities in Pakistan is a big step for Sport-for-Development in our country. We are grateful for their support, and we hope that more organizations adopt this perspective; it will enable us to not only maintain our efforts with the league in years to come, but also expand upon and scale them.
As always, thank you to all of you who support and contribute towards our mission!
Finalists in action!
Lyari U16s vs. Orangi Town U16s fight for glory!
Fatima - Top Scorer in the Girls U16 Category!
Winners in the Boys U12 Category!
The opening ceremony on the final day!