Anelka’s visit to the capital comes as part of the World Soccer Stars 2019 initiative of the TouchSky Group. The group also brought legendary footballers Ricardo Kaka and Luis Figo to Pakistan in January, and plans on holding exhibition matches in Karachi and Lahore in April.
“Salam Pakistan, it’s Nicolas Anelka so get ready,” he says in a promotional video before explaining in a press release that his “participation is to help boost football in Pakistan.”
Anelka, who also visited Pakistan in 2017 to play two matches headlined by Ronaldinho, further adds: “Having embraced Islam [in 2004], I have a special connection with Pakistan. I have forged a special relationship with World Soccer Stars tour. I am confident of this tour being one of its kind. I look forward to exciting my fans in Pakistan on April 26 and 29 in Karachi and Lahore.”
“The expert knowledge of Anelka is based on the offensive coaching style, which he currently offers at Lille OSC Youth in France Ligue 1,” said the press release. “The visit is designed to help grow technical understanding for PFF through a partnership with TouchSky Group-World Soccer Stars.”
TouchSky Group CEO Ahmer Kunwar said “our vision hails from top down and bottom up approach to drive appropriate structures across core levels of football in Pakistan. Anelka’s visit is to discuss a deep-dive discussion with PFF on supporting the domestic league structure. The presence of Anelka reinforces our intent. He has taken a time-out before the tour to discuss a structured gateway to European football for Pakistani players.”
“I am delighted to discuss the real development needs for football and unearth a realistic football grass-roots structure for PFF,” said Robert Lewis, the head of TSG-World Soccer Stars. “I am committed to sustainable growth in football and really impressed with the appetite for football there is in the market.”
Anelka’s visit of Islamabad will end at the Centauras Mall, where he will be unveiled to football fans so he could “energise, motivate, inspire and help grow their confidence in football”.
World Soccer Stars is a set of showcase football matches scheduled to be held in Karachi and Lahore on aforementioned dates. The matches will also see American singer Akon do a live concert for the first time in Pakistan.