KARACHI: Two of the biggest names of the football world, Ricardo Kaka of Brazil and Luis Figo of Portugal, are set to visit Pakistan next month after the government assures issuance of visa to the duo.
An official of the sports management company Touchsky group confirmed that both the players will be in Pakistan for a promotional activity ahead of their planned football action.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 19, 2018
Earlier, the visit looked under a cloud after Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry was quoted by a news agency that the country had denied visas to the duo.
“We refused a visa to Kaka and Figo. Can you believe that? I called the section officer and he never heard of Kaka. I spoke to the interior secretary yesterday and gave him a piece of my mind,” Chaudhry was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“Former Real Madrid soccer stars Kaka of Brazil and Portuguese playmaker Luis Figo were recently denied visas to the country for a promotional visit, Fawad Chaudhry said, highlighting the nation’s laborious visa process.” THE STATE OF THIS COUNTRY SMH https://t.co/aMekux345r
— R. (@rahimaxarsenal) December 22, 2018
However, Chaudhry while speaking to Geo.tv clarified that visas were not denied and only passports were returned.
“Actually not denied but just returned. Now will be issued by tomorrow and they are coming to Pakistan in January,” the information minister told this correspondent.
The duo is invited to Pakistan to formally announce a series of friendly games planned in April, and according to Hasan Rao of Touchsky, there are more stars likely to join.
“This event is going to be a big event for Pakistan Football. Figo and Kaka will be here next month to announce more details about the event which will be held in Pakistan in April,” Rao said.
“I am not in position to reveal further details, but I can confirm that Karachi and Lahore are set to host some big football names and it will surely help us portray a very positive message from Pakistan.”
Rao added that the players will be welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.
Pakistan plans to ease visa policy for 55 countries to revive tourism
In an attempt to revive tourism, Pakistan is planning to ease visa restrictions for visitors from 55 countries, Reuters reported Saturday.
Fawad Chaudhry, the information minister, told Reuters that his government is reviewing the visa policies. “We are trying to bring 55 countries into a visa-free region, which includes most of the European countries.”
Earlier this month, Portugal declared Pakistan safe for travel and Fawad Chaudhry is happy about it. “I’m happy our (travel) advisories are changing,” he added.
He said that former Portuguese captain Luis Figo and Brazil’s Kaka were recently denied visas to Pakistan for a promotional visit.
The information minister told Reuters that he called the section officer and he told him that he never heard of Kaka. “I spoke to the interior secretary yesterday and gave him a piece of my mind.”
However, the football greats will be issued visas soon, the minister added