September 22, 2023

How did Sialkot’s football factory become number one in the world?

“Then we started with zero and made it. We started with short hair, researched, used technology, took two and a half years, had to build machinery, and then we made ‘airless football’.


Years ago, a young civil engineer from Sialkot was helping his uncle in his family business after completing his education.

One day his uncle decided that the young man would now stand on his own two feet instead of working with him in his football factory, and relying on him.

He called his nephew to him and told him, “Now you do your work on your own.”
It was young Khawaja Masood Akhtar who started making handmade footballs from a room after leaving his uncle’s factory.

The journey ahead seemed difficult to them. At that time Sialkot was exporting a large portion of the world’s football production and the country’s major manufacturers and investors were associated with the industry.

Khawaja Masood was a child school in this work and he did not know much about how to proceed.
However, he accepted the challenge and started his new journey alone from one room.

Initially, he started playing football with a few employees. The next three years were difficult for him. The number of workers increased to 50 and they started a small factory called ‘Forward Sports’ in 1991, but it was still difficult for them to sell and export their products in a suitable market.

Then one day his luck woke up and he was approached by a representative of the German company Eddie Dass, who provided football to FIFA and other organizers for international tournaments, including the World Cup, and he met Khwaja Masood Akhtar. He said that he wanted to do some football making work in Sialkot with other factories as well.

It may have been a huge success, but it was also a challenge to manage work and resources and the challenge of making football according to Eddie Doss standards.

Khawaja Masood Akhtar also accepted this challenge and started working with Eddie Doss.

But the destination was still far away. The work of Forward Sports had only just begun when the demand for machine-made footballs began to grow in the world, instead of hand-sewn footballs.

China took advantage of this opportunity to set up large football factories with machines to transfer most of Pakistan’s orders there.

Like other industrialists in Pakistan, Khawaja Masood Akhtar had to move to machinery and for that he needed more investment.

But they had just moved on to sewing machines when the world moved toward the new football technology, the thermopole, which required more sophisticated machinery.

This machinery required a huge amount of capital which Khawaja Masood Akhtar did not have at that time.

This was the moment when Khawaja Masood Akhtar and his ‘Forward Sports’ came to a standstill. Either they would raise funds for new machinery from somewhere or they would not only lose the contract of Adidas but also go out of the world market by working within the available resources.

Khawaja Masood made a big decision. He intended not only to acquire the machinery of the day but also to modernize his factory and acquire the latest technology at the international level.

To achieve this goal, they obtained loans from banks and began the installation of modern machinery.
Due to this loan he got into financial difficulties and ran the factory in crisis for three years, however he did not compromise on quality and technology and kept moving forward.

Football preparation for the World Cup

Meanwhile, he began receiving orders from Eddie Doss to make football for the World Cup. And Forward Sports first created Brazuca football for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Then he got the order to make Telstar-18 for the World Cup to be held in Russia in 2018 and also for the World Cup to be held in Qatar in November this year, Forward Sports is making ‘Al-Rahla Football’.

“We are currently making one million footballs a month. Our company is currently the best technical company in the world. Our research and development is excellent. Our world class laboratory has more than 90 tests of international standard. We have more than 5,000 employees, of which more than 2,000 are women.

Khawaja Masood Akhtar said that he has defeated the impression of providing the fastest service of China in football manufacturing and at present Sialkot’s Forward Sports has the honor of making the fastest and best football in the world.

“We left China behind. Eddie Dass has also won the trophy for high-speed production. We are a faster, cheaper, innovative and innovative factory than China. “

Khawaja Masood said that this standard can be achieved in other fields also if Pakistan implements the best performing system in industries and institutions.

“People say that workers are not good in Pakistan. I say we don’t have a good system. If you bring performance into the system, you will surpass China. We need the performance of the system, not the workers. “

Khawaja Masood says that if you install modern machinery as a result of research, training of workers and research, then your factories will get better and better.

“Quality will be better, waste will be less, performance will be better.”

Khawaja Masood says that at present Pakistan is exporting football worth about 50 450 million. If the production system is improved here, then football and other exports can be further improved.
Soccer Perfection Test

Forward Sports has set up a state-of-the-art laboratory to maintain the international standard of football, where numerous tests are carried out before final packing.

Sohail Ghauri, the manager of the laboratory, told Urdu News that before the sale of football, it is mechanically applied 3500 strokes, kept in a warm environment for seven days to test its durability and temperature in water. And only footballs that meet these tests are exported.

Features of Qatar 2022 football ‘Rahela’

According to Khawaja Masood Akhtar, the Al-Rahla football, developed for the Qatar World Cup, is environmentally friendly and has new features that were not present in the football that was formed before it.

A lot of recyclable material has been used in this football. In addition, there are chemicals that will expire on their own after the end of the football season and will not cause waste to the environment.

Due to the World Cup being in the Arab region, it has been given the Arabic name ‘Al-Rahla’ which means travel.

Forward Sports is the inventor of airless football

According to Khawaja Masood Akhtar, Eddie Doss had suggested to China to make football “without air” to avoid filling the air in football. On which the Chinese experts worked for some time, but after going to a place they stopped and beyond that they did not understand the preparation of this football.

“Then we started with zero and made it. We started with short hair, researched, used technology, took two and a half years, had to build machinery, and then we made ‘airless football’.

“This ball will not have to be inflated for ten years and it is just like any other normal football.”

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