Not really. But even so, yes it does. Or, at least the footballs made in Pakistan do.
As the German Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr. Gunter Mulack, recently told a press conference in Islamabad: “Pakistan will almost be in every match through their footballs.” The official football used in all games of the 2006 FIFA Football World Cup will come from Pakistan (Sialkot, to be exact).
According to a report in FootballPakistan.com, as of early June Sialkot has exported over 55.8 million footballs worth more than Rs 8.5 billion, this year. And over 40 million balls worth US $ 210 million are produced annually, employing some 60,000 men and women in Sialkot. According to this wesite, at least, over 85 percent of the total production of soccer balls in the world comes from Sialkot (can anyone confirm this, please).
Football, of course, is played widely in Pakistan but is not really a sport that ignites the nation’s passions. Pakistan is ranked No. 153 in world football rankings. While it may have no effect on the country’s performance on the field, the games popularity in Pakistan is certainly getting a boost from the 2006 World Cup–especially becasue Pakistan Television (PTV) is telecasting 64 matches live from Germany.
My thanks to the blog Light Within for alerting me to this.