For decades, Football has enjoyed the position of truly global game. Despite the fact that football is regarded as poor man’ game and strong appeal from masses of Pakistan, it has failed to reach the same heights in Pakistan as cricket and hockey does.
The history of football manufacturing dates back to the era when British came to subcontinent, football was one of their favorite games. Football was introduced in the Subcontinent during the British raj. What happened once was that a British soldier asked an Indian saddle maker to repair his football. The repairing done by the hands of Indian saddle maker was so perfect that the army man ordered the saddle maker to make a bunch of football. This was the beginning of manufacturing of football by hand in India.
In the past, the footballs were used to be manufactured of leather pieces stitched by hand to give it a firm round shape. But the invention of vulcanized rubber made it possible to make football out of plastic and rubber.
The process of football manufacturing begins by cutting the leather normally cowhide which is also known as hide. To make the leather more durable and nice look, leather is usually tanned. The leather is cut into four pieces of same size and equal weight. The four panels are then stitched in a very systemized way to prevent the ball from inflating and changing shape while playing. The stitching process is a very tough and time taking process. Nearly, it takes 4 hours to stitch a ball properly. In Pakistan almost all the stitching takes place in stitching centers or is homebased work. The wages of football stitching is also very low. However, in developed countries, all the stitching is done by machines.
The process of stitching is followed by lamination, printing and packaging of footballs. These final steps are accomplished by factory workers. The big names in Sialkot industry still prefer their intermediaries to get this work done.
Manufacturing of football in Pakistan is one of the biggest industries, producing excellent quality footballs. Though developed countries have introduces and are using modern techniques of manufacturing football completely through machinery, still “Made in Pakistan Footballs” are preferred in FIFA world cup tournaments. This is because the quality of hand stitched Pakistani footballs still better than those that are stitched using machines.
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