Over 42 million soccer balls worth Rs17.473 million have been exported from Sialkot so far ahead of the FIFA Football World Cup 2014.
Sources in Sialkot Dry Port told APP on Monday that adequate arrangements have been made for prompt clearance of export consignments at dry port to facilitate timely delivery.
Sialkot made soccer ball “Brazuca” will be used in upcoming FIFA Football World Cup matches in Brazil after a gap of 32 years. The ball was produced by Forward Sports Sialkot for Adidas. The name Brazuca is an informal local term which means “Brazilian” or to describe the Brazilian way of life.
Brazuca is a breakthrough innovation featuring a revolutionary 6 panel design created for every player on the field. The ball features six identical panels alongside a unique surface that will provide improved grip, touch, stability and aerodynamics on the field.
The success story of Sialkot industries is based on the unmatched skill and craftsmanship of local workers.
In 1980s Sialkot gained international celebrity status when it produced the “Tango Ball” used in FIFA Football World cup in 1982 which led further growth of soccer ball industry.
All the major international brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Select, Litto, Umbro, Mitre, Micassa, Diadora, Wilsoms and Decathion are sourcing their supply of footballs from this export-oriented city and hub of cottage industry of the country.
Sialkot is the only city of Pakistan where 99 percent products are exported to various countries of the world. Sialkot based small and medium industries are earning foreign exchange of over US 1.6 billion dollars annually through exports and strengthening the national economy.
Under the directives of federal government a project of “Sports Industries Development Centre” (SIDC) has been initiated costing more than Rs435.637 million in Sialkot for modernising soccerball industry. The SICD is fully equipped with latest machinery which has already started its trail production.
The prime objective of setting up of SIDC was to help sports goods sector to adopt modern technology of mechanized “Thermo Lamination Balls” by providing the common facilities, technical advisory services, molding machinery services and training. The SIDC will help businessmen and manufacturers engaged in soccerball industry to modernize the industry and as well as help in resolving problems confronting the industry, especially technology of mechanized ball that is threatening the hand-stitched soccer ball.
SIDC would have the facilities like making prototype balls for the industry, training of skilled workers for the industries in mould, rubber technologies, mechanized thermo laminated balls, provision of manufacturing facilities for SMEs to secure their export orders for mechanized thermo laminated balls. SIDC would also help develop machinery locally through reverse engineering and providing assistance in setting up mechanized thermo laminated balls production in individual industrial units engaged with sports goods sector of Sialkot would be available in SIDC.
In addition, the machinery set up is fully capable of producing and testing thermo laminated balls meeting the standards of FIFA, rubber mixing equipments, bladder manufacturing equipments, yarn winding and vulcanization, panel cuttings/ print/ lamination and laboratory with latest machinery were available in SIDC.
The centre would also assist the industry to cope with challenges of product development by enhancing the capacity and competitiveness of Sialkot football industry in the field of mechanized soccer balls as well as transfer of technology for manufacturing of 3500 thermo laminated balls (soccer ball), volley balls and basketballs per 8 hours shift to Sports Industries Development Centre (SIDC).
The project will facilitate in sustaining Pakistan’s position in international market of inflatable balls in general and soccer balls in particular.
It may be mentioned that the Federal government has taken this bold step to address the problems of soccer ball industry of Sialkot ,besides modernization of sports goods sector.
The sports goods industry was confronting with a serious threat in the form of “thermo molded balls” that are made through medium end technology to produce a ball with most characteristics of a hand stitched ball. Sialkot is catering 85 percent of the total world demand for hand stitched inflatable balls, that means 60 million balls annually.