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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

EECS Footballer Aims for World Cup Glory with Pakistan

Imran Kayani, a third-year student at Queen Mary University of London, is poised to represent Pakistan in their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Jordan, the furthest they’ve got in the 75-year history. The 22-year-old is impressively balancing the demands of international football and his academic studies in Computer Science. 

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Kayani has dreamed of playing at the highest level since childhood. “Representing Pakistan internationally is a dream come true,” he said. “I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity to do what I love while furthering my education. I have big aspirations in terms of what I want to achieve in my football career, inspiring the South Asian community being a key one. I want the next generation to have a relatable figure to look up to and show that regardless of colour, religion, or ethnicity, you can achieve your dreams.” 

Originally from Surrey, Kayani was selected for the Chelsea Elite squad at age 11 and now plays for semi-professional Whitehawk F.C. and hopes to continue with football after he graduates. Kayani commutes to Queen Mary University and says he was drawn to study there because of its diversity and academic rigour as a member of the prestigious Russell Group. “Queen Mary has a great mix of people and I've made some brilliant friends for life here,” Kayani says, “Learning new skills at a top university has been very rewarding.” 

Last July, Pakistan battled Cambodia in the first round of World Cup qualifiers which is already a massive achievement for the country. After a 0-0 draw in Phnom Penh, a Harun Hamid goal gave Pakistan a 1-0 home win, their first World Cup qualifying victory in eight years.  

Pakistan now faces a crunch tie with Jordan in late March. Kayani's skills will be crucial as his nation faces a competitive side in the next round with the hope that Pakistan will make sporting history in their nation. He flies out to the international camp shortly to start intensive training.  

With his sights set on soccer stardom, Imran Kayani is proving you can balance books and balls on the journey to achieving your dreams. 

 

 

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