Plenty of children and adults play football at the NCC (photo: Tahir Jamal/White Star)
If Lyari wasn’t the battleground it has become, Kakri Ground would be the home of football in Karachi. Instead, the National Coaching Centre (NCC) has become an alternative for anyone wishing to put on some cleats and play football – or any other sport.
City Central…Located in Block 14, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the NCC is easily accessible from all parts of Karachi via some of the city’s largest thoroughfares; Dalmia Road connects it with Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karsaz Road with Shahrah-e-Faisal, and the Aga Khan Road with all areas near Jail Chowrangi.
A full-sized football pitch (photo: Tahir Jamal/White Star)
Where sport lives… In full view of the National Stadium, the NCC houses a full-sized football pitch, fully equipped gymnasium, badminton, squash and tennis courts, as well as track and field facilities. Some of the facilities might not be world class, but the fact that they exist allows a lot of people to come and train there.
Waiting for kick-off (photo: Tahir Jamal/White Star)
What you will see… The NCC is open to public membership, and attracts people from all walks of life who have a passion for fitness and sport. On any given day, you can watch players on the football pitch, health conscious athletes sprinting on the tracks or big-armed fitness buffs pumping iron in the gym.
For the not so sporty… The area around the NCC has several shopping options. The pocket which houses Time Medico (a supermarket) also has a number of bookstores and cigar shops. Mashriq Centre, considered to be Gulshan’s answer to Zainab Market thanks to the apparel available there (as well as art supplies), is a popular shopping venue.
Take a foodie break… Have a burger and milkshake at the nearby McDonald’s; and if you are looking for barbecued protein, venture over to one of the many sajji and barbeque joints in Block 14. There is a Hobnob Bakery across the road from the NCC and a Pie in the Sky nearby to give you a sugar fix and make up the lost calories.
In a nutshell…. The World Cup would be a stretch, but a view of the NCC and its adjoining areas while coming off the Stadium Bridge could convince anyone that the Asian Games or a smaller event could certainly be held there. No multi-million dollar construction would be needed, just a little maintenance would do the trick.
– Shayan Shakeel
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First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 10, 2012.