-File photo by AFP

KARACHI: Mohammad Ali, an ailing 54-year-old former international footballer, who has lost his voice and leg movement after an attack of paralysis two years ago was presented with a cheque of Rs100,000 to pay for his medical treatment by his namesake, Sindh Minister for Sports Dr Mohammad Ali Shah at his office in the Sindh Secretariat here on Wednesday.

Mohammad Ali represented Pakistan as a striker during the national football team’s tour of Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1977. Before that he had captained his school, the Government Boys Primary School Haji Abdullah Haroon, team for a number of years while winning several school tournaments for them. Later, he joined the Urdu Arts College and represented his college team at the national level followed by getting a job with the Pakistan Public Works Department (PPWD).

Mohammad’s eldest son Naushad Ali, who was accompanying his father, said that they were eight brothers and sisters (four boys and four girls) and even though he himself didn’t play football, one younger brother Noman Ali did. “He is a goalkeeper for the football club Kalakot Union and has played in last year’s U-14 football championship where he also won the prize for the best goalkeeper,” informed Naushad.

“We hope to see him in the Pakistan team in the next couple of years,” he added.

Mohammad, despite his condition, is the patron-in-chief of the Kalakot Union which is one of the oldest football clubs of Lyari, founded before Partition. Being a PPWD employee, he has been seeing the doctors on the department’s panel after his paralysis attack but the medicines aren’t helping him much as his condition deteriorates with each passing day.

Meanwhile, presenting the footballer with the cheque, Dr Mohammad Ali Shah said that he will try to get the ailing footballer another Rs100,000 for his treatment in the next two weeks.

“Mohammad Ali is our national hero. I am well aware that the amount being presented to him here is nothing when you see his services to sports, and especially football, in Pakistan. But we in the sports department also have our limitations due to shortage of grants. Still, I will try my best to arrange for a similar amount in the next couple of weeks,” he said.


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