By: Yousaf Ajab Baloch
Kalat which once used to be home to sports activities, mainly, football, now is in poorest state, which has led youth prone to activities that can hurt the society as a whole. This is mainly an outcome of lack of sports opportunities for the youth.
Youth in Kalat has been struggling to sponsor sports activities on their level, however, it seems difficult without support from higher authorities and governmental funding.
According to the sportsmen, there is little to no support by the government to promote sports at district level; not even for educational institutions.
Talking on the matter, the Balochistan Review found out through a young footballer, Wahid Baloch, “There is only one football stadium in Kalat which has been administratively disowned. Since no staff has been appointed to maintain the stadium. There is no quality grassing in the stadium and construction of pavilion is still uncompleted after years of its construction.”
According to the details received from the members of District Football Association (DFA), currently there are some 50 registered football teams in district Kalat, however, they are deprived of play grounds and other required facilities.
The experts admit availability of very talented footballers in Kalat but they are refused to avail any encouraging opportunity on provincial and national level.
Wahid Baloch told Balochistan Review that youth in Balochistan has been pushed back from sports activities. “Youngsters in Kalat confront shortage of equipment and quality coaching centers too.”
Ali Ahmed, a young cricketer, who has been working for promotion of cricket in Kalat voluntarily, told Balochistan Review, “Sports activities are never taken serious and that is one of the reasons why there are very limited facilities for most available sports options.”
He justifies his statement saying, “There is no stadium or playground in the city. There used to be some playgrounds in city, however, government has banned playing cricket there. There are more than 60 cricket clubs, however, most of which are deprived of basic facilities. We witness no government policy for the promotion of sport activities. Because of the poor sports infrastructure and lack of opportunities, the large number of youth of the district started taking drugs and they are getting indulged in other social evils.
District Social Welfare Department once conducted annual sport events to encourage youth, and provide them equipment but after establishment of sports department funding or other responsibilities have been allocated to Sports department in Kalat.
Muhammad Iqbal Baloch, District social Welfare officer told Balochistan Review, “We do not have enough funding for sports or else we would continue sports events on regular basis.”
President Kalat cricket Association, Mr Yaya Baloch told Balochistan Review, “A new cricket ground construction project was approved during the last government and has recently been completed. However, on the one hand it is unreachable for players and common people, as it is 12 kilometers away from the city, on the other hand there is no water and electricity facility.”
In Kalat, among the different teams Officers Club is the only one which has privileges and opportunities. For the reason that it has its own complex since 1970. The district officials belong to it who pay for most of the sports equipment
Yaya Baloch shared with Balochistan Review, “The playgrounds for cricket in Police Line and Model High School had been closed for unexpressed reasons which were great source of practicing and showing talent of youth in Kalat. We are losing our talent and capacity of players in both football and cricket due to no available facilities and opportunities since players are unable to develop their capability in absence of opportunities.
A young footballer on condition of anonymity told Balochistan Review, “Kalat district and mainly Kalat city is deliberately being pushed back in the field of sports and games. Kalat which was once very famous in the field of football not only in Balochistan but also in Pakistan due to Ahmed Ali Pulo who belonged to Kalat and he led Pakistan Football team as a caption.”
He further said that allocation of funds for more than two dozen for Kalat playgrounds was approved in last tenure of government. “
Talking to the Balochistan Review, Assistant Director Sports, Mr. Yousaf Baloch said that engagement of youth in sports activities keeps them healthy and fit physically and mentally. However, absence of sports activities also contributes to the increase in criminal activities by the youth and also leaves them prone to drug addiction.
President Kalat cricket Association, Mr Yaya Baloch suggested, “The responsible authorities should make the sports complex in Kalat city functional. The authorities need to provide sports facilities and establish playgrounds to encourage youth in the direction of healthy activities in the district. The government should fill up the missing gaps to facilitate youngsters in developing their sport skills and provide opportunities to continue different storts. This eventually will take the youth to a better path”