Seven Embassies, eight teams and pretty much every continent in the world playing 6 a side football.
That was the story this week, as Socca set the agenda again in Pakistan.
The Jinnah Sports Complex in Islamabad provided a stunning backdrop for the matches, which saw a one day tournament taking place for various embassies and consulates.
Organised by Leisure Leagues Pakistan on behalf of The ISF and World Group, the matches were attended by Anas Trunkwala, World Group CEO, with the guest of honour being His Excellency Mr. Dimitris Hatzopoulos, the Greek Ambassador to Pakistan.
Brazil, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Nigeria, were just some of the countries involved, with other combined teams from Europe rounding out the tournament – which was eventually won by the squad from Thailand.
As always, though, it wasn’t necessarily about the outcome. More, it is about the continued growth of socca in every corner of the globe. Indeed, Mr. Hatzopoulos was quick to draw parallels between the seemingly inexorable rise of socca and what had happened in his own country in the mid-2000s.
“In the summer of 2004, the then unknown national team of Greece won the pan-European football tournament, having never won a game before”, he recalled.
“Our success gave rise the famous sporting slogan, impossible is nothing.”
The Ambassador then wondered whether Pakistan could repeat the feat in Crete this autumn, adding: “I wish success to the Pakistan national team….”
Further he said: “I am grateful to the Trunkwala family for organising this diplomatic tournament and look forward to the 2019 World Cup in my home of Greece.”
The ISF’s Hannah Wallis admitted these type of tournaments were something that that everyone could look forward to. “There’s no doubt that it was a wonderful success,” said Hannah. “Giving these players the opportunity to play in such in a wonderful stadium and spread the reach of Socca still further is something we can all be proud of.”