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Ataullah is the limping coach of the Kalat Baloch soccer team. He actually works in a shop and nobody knows why he is limping. The important thing is that by far he is the number one coach in the area.
Balochistan is famous for desert, tribal structure, smuggling and the worlds oldest Neolithic sites. New theories state that the root of mankind comes from this area. I did not know that and thought that we actually come from somewhere in the centre of the African continent. I also did not know that the first species of men (and probably also women) were already playing football, here on this ground!
Rashid tells us about the history of this ground, where they play since many thousand years. No wonder that the team is among the best in the area, despite lack of funds and support from the Pakistani government. Ataullah complains, all players complain. In Iran, which is just 3 kilometers from the Kalat Baloch ground, soccer is more popular and the players get their Shirts from there.
“We can easily go to Iran, just have to get a permit.”
“Once at the local tournament finals one player fell and was hit by a stone and got mad” says Rashid “but we won and we have the very nice memories of that. It is a very rough ground to play here”.
“Ataullah, How did you learn coaching?”
“I studied from books and videos. You see, we play every day here, even in Ramazan without having eaten or drunk anything. In summer we play later because of the heat.”
Mand is small desert oasis about seven hours drive in land from the Persian Gulf. Just a few years back an electricity line was laid into Mand from Iran. There is a plastered street only to the next village, everything else is sand and mountains. The adjacent provinces to the North do not have any electricity and many villages here do not have gas supply. The people live from dates and have a very strong cultural background. The main tribe of this are is the Rind tribe, a matriarchic tribe, with the leading figure Mrs. Zobaida Jalal, former education minister of Pakistan. “Zobaida Jalal gave us some money so we could buy the shirts for our team.” says Rashid. He is happy and adds: “the next local finals will be played here at our ground.”