Ghayas Zahid first Pakistani-origin footballer to play in Champions League

Syed Sibtain Shah

Norway’s Ghayas Zahid has become the first footballer of Pakistani descent to feature in UEFA Champions League.

The 22-year-old became the first Pakistani-origin footballer to play in the Champions League when he featured for APOEL FC in a group stage match against Real Madrid.

Ghayas signed a four-year contract with the Cypriot football club APOEL FC, a famous professional football club based in Nicosia, Cyprus. The club is the most popular football team in Cyprus and so far, they are the most successful with an overall tally of 26 championships, 21 cups and 13 super cups.

The Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs.

“It will be an exciting challenge,” said Ghayas, who is from Mortensrud locality in Oslo.

He has played 128 matches and scored 38 goals for his club.

His parents, Mohammad Zahid and Nazia Zahid, who migrated from Lala Musa, Pakistan in 1990s to Norway, told Geo News that their son’s passion and hard work and their prayers are behind this remarkable feat.

God has rewarded Ghayas for his struggle, they said about their son’s participation in the Champions League.

The proud parents shared some advice for other parents of Norwegian-Pakistani children: take care of their children’s affairs and pay full attention to their lives.

Parents of Ghayas Zahid, Muhammad and Nazia Zahid  

“We should not stop our children from pursuing choices for a good future,” they said.

About football in Pakistan, they said Pakistan should also focus on football in order to engage youth in healthy activities.