Former French football star Nicolas Anelka arrived here early Tuesday for the promotion of 2019 World Soccer Stars event. His arrival comes after football legends Luis Figo and Ricardo Kaka visited the country for the promotion of the same event earlier this year. Former Chelsea and Real Madrid striker Anelka offered to visit Pakistan again in future to train aspiring footballers and help the ‘Beautiful Game’ grow in the country. Anelka made the remarks during a press conference along with Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) newly elected president Syed Ashfaq Shah. “I have spoken to the national federation and if they ask me to come back, I’m free, I’ll come back again and again,” said the Frenchman. “I played for 20 years and now it’s time to give to the kids who are learning,” he added. The aspiration of millions of football fanatics in Pakistan is now about making their dreams become a reality and not only to witness world-class players arriving in Pakistan with exhibition matches but to inject new life line into football offering real tangible outcomes for Pakistan.“My participation is to help boost football in Pakistan and having embraced Islam 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 on April 26-29, 2019 in Karachi and Lahore so look forward to exciting my fans in Pakistan,” Anelka had said ahead of his arrival. The PFF president, who assumed the top football office in the country by virtue of his controversial victory over his predecessor Faisal Saleh Hayat, urged TouchSky Group, the company responsible for bringing Anelka as well as Kaka and Figo to Pakistan, to up its efforts to boost football in Pakistan. “I have already told the TSG group that to bring a soccer player and then a big gap is not enough,” the PFF president said. “Until and unless there is a continuity, we cannot do it. We have been working on it for the last two months hopefully we will come up with something that is in the interest of Pakistan and Pakistan football. That’s our main objective. God willing, you will see football grow in Pakistan.”While the arrival of football superstars is appreciated in Pakistan, the purpose and long-term plan of the visits remain hazy at best. When TouchSky Group CEO Ahmer Kunwar was asked to elaborate what the group wanted to achieve, he said: “We have brought these icons here because local players here need motivation and confidence. We cannot suddenly open football schools or academies because there is not much infrastructure here but we are now working with a few stakeholders in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, where these stars will collaborate and conduct some training in future.” The new PFF chief, however, dispelled the notion that FIFA, football’s global governing body, had a problem with the way he assumed the top office. “FIFA has never sent us a letter that talks about de-recognition or anything. FIFA and AFC have only seen one face of Pakistan as only one person was occupying the office for the last 15 and a half years. I have been here for just two months. The law of the land prevails over anything. I cannot sit here and violate the law. Our election has two phases. The one in which Faisal Saleh Hayat won he accepts it, the one he lost, he does not accept. I did not conduct this election. It was conducted on Supreme Court of Pakistan’s directives and within its building. They are stuck on one point, which is third-party intervention. If there were any third party intervention then Amir Dogar would have been the PFF president. He isn’t because the government did not interfere.”Robert Lewis, Head of TSG-World Soccer Stars, said: “I am delighted to discuss the real development needs for football and unearth a realistic football grass-roots structure for PFF. I am committed to sustainable growth in football and really impressed with the appetite football has in the market.” A football match and concert featuring AKON will be held in Karachi on Saturday, April 27 and in Lahore on Sunday, April, 28. Published in Daily Times, March 6th 2019.