ISLAMABAD: “It’s a proud moment for Pakistan to see our manufactured football in the first World Cup 2018 match between Saudi Arabia and Russia,” Saeed Mehr, of Forward Sports, said.
Forward Sports, based in the sporting goods city of Sialkot, is the maker of the high-tech Adidas Telstar 18 football, the most innovative football ever produced.
“We are excited to see the (Adidas) Telstar 18 football in action,” said Mehr.
The sporting goods company was founded in 1991, and produces 700,000 footballs a month for major league competitions such as the Champions League, German Bundesliga, France Ligue 1, as well as international brands.
The thermo-bonded Telstar 18 football features an NFC (near field communication) microchip that transmits information and promotes consumer interactivity utilizing smartphones.
The ball design was first used in the 1970 World Cup.
Thermo-bonding technology uses heat to seamlessly patch panels, an improvement on stitching.
Pakistan, ranked 142 on FIFA’s men's index in 1993, has plummeted to 201 in 2018. Women are ranked 118 on the index.
A 2017 FIFA ban on the country’s football federation over an internal power struggle and violations of FIFA rules, was lifted in March. The Pakistan Football Federation membership rights were reinstated, allowing club teams to take part in international football competitions and enjoy other benefits of international football.
Pakistan hasn’t participated in any international football event since 2015.