The Chaman tale!

For a cartologist, Chaman, a small town in North Pakistan which borders Afghanistan, might mean nothing.  But it does have a fascinating history as to how it got its name.

The literal translation of Chaman is garden and that is what Sardar Naveed Khan, who is here in the city as the leader of the Pakistan Under-23 delegation, thought gave the sleepy town its name.

But Pakistan captain Kaleem Ullah corrected Sardar. “Chaman actually got its name from Chaman Das, a Hindu-dry fruit trader who was there before partition.

“Hindus still live in Chaman,” Kaleem, whose mother tongue is Pashto, says. “They speak Pashto and wear Shalwars.”

Kaleem, who is from Chaman, said they have gained confidence from their 1-0 loss against their Indian counterparts on Sunday. “We have gained confidence from the way we played. We won’t repeat our mistakes in the second game and we will aim to win the match. We will attack India’s weak points.”

He was also surprised by the sporting nature of the Bangalore crowd. “It was a young, smart, intelligent crowd. They supported both teams and appreciated good play whenever they saw it.”

Kaleem plays his club football for Dordoi Bishkek in Kyrgyztan. He says they would like to play in the Indian Super League (ISL). “We should play each other more often. Pakistan’s players should get a chance in the ISL. This series is a chance for some of us to show we can play well.”

He also notes that India’s footballers are professionals. “They are professionals. Some of our youngsters don’t have that sort of exposure. But we make up with our fighting spirit.”

Many sportspersons feel that an India-Pakistan clash is special and Kaleem is no different. “Pakistan versus India is always special. There is some extra aggression as well. We saw that on Sunday.”

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