November 11, 2014

Florida Cricket Academy eager to tour Pakistan: Naeem-ul-Haq


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Florida Cricket Academy (FCA) has planned to undertake a tour of Pakistan early next year and the squad will comprise of the youngsters of the United States of America (USA) residing in the south eastern region.

This was disclosed by Naeem-ul-Haq, a former cricketer from Karachi having relocated in the USA where he is the Head Coach of the Fort Lauderdale-based FCA, in an interview at the residence of his brother, Anwar-ul-Haq, also a famous opening batsman. 

Currently on a brief visit to his home city, Naeem, who represented Pakistan Customs in national tournaments in the 1980s, revealed that the FCA was working on its planned one-week tour of Karachi during which its trainees, coming from the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, will be playing three matches against three top local academies during the months of January or February next. 

“We have already negotiated with the Customs Cricket Academy who will be playing one of the matches against the FCA. Now we are talking to the Rashid Latif Cricket Academy and the Moin Khan Cricket Academy and positive results are expected,” he reckoned. 

“The FCA tour will be taking place with the blessings and support of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and we don’t foresee any problems in bringing our cricketers to this part of the world,” he stated.

Having served a coach of the South East of the USACA, Naeem revealed that the FCA squad, to be in the age group of 16 to 19 years, will be featuring cricketers having relocated there from different Test playing nations across the globe. 

“It’s an incredible mix of youngsters having backgrounds from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies who receive training at the FCA. There are a few native Americans too,” he added. 

“Mostly we have the training sessions over the weekends. Many youngsters are very enthusiastic about the game of cricket in the South East region although it’s not the number one sport there,” Naeem remarked. 

“A brief tour of Pakistan will do their confidence a world of good. They will learn a lot of new things by playing against the top academies of Karachi and they will go back as improved cricketers,” he felt. 

“Cricket can flourish in USA if more work was done to promote the game at schools, colleges and universities. It has a potential to succeed but hard work is needed besides deep pockets,” Naeem, who alongwith Raza Jaffri, was instrumental in setting up the Florida Cricket Academy in Fort Lauderdale about a decade ago, opined. 

Such initiatives are indeed vital in the promotion of cricket in the USA and it’s upto the authorities there to inspire the community leaders to play their role more proactively in developing this particular sport.


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