SIALKOT- It was when he felt the roar of the crowd at the 2006 World Cup in Germany that Pakistani factory owner Khawaja Akhtar first dreamt up a goal of his own: to manufacture the ball for the biggest soccer tournament on the planet.
"The people were chanting all around me. I just thought, 'This is the real thing'," Akhtar told. "I was part of the crowd. I never had that kind of feeling before."
His factory had made balls for the German Bundesliga, French league and Champions League, but he had never snagged a World Cup contract.
Last year he finally got his chance but only 33 days to make it happen.
When Akhtar heard last autumn that Adidas' Chinese supplier for the World Cup couldn't keep up with demand, he immediately invited executives to his plant in Sialkot, a wealthy Pakistani manufacturing town with a long history of leatherwork.
Their first visit was not a success.
"They said 'You have Stone Age equipment," said his oldest son, Hassan Masood Khawaja, laughing. "After they left, my father called a meeting and said: 'This is our only chance. If we show them we can't do it, we'll never get another chance again.'"
It usually takes six months to set up a production line, but the factory only had a month - Adidas, the German sports equipment maker, was in a hurry. So Khawaja designed, made and moved the equipment into place within 33 days. Everything had to be done from scratch.
"It was hard, maybe the hardest thing I've ever done," he said over the noise of the hot, hissing machines.
But it was a success, and the firm's previous investment in thermal bonding technology paid off.
A leading force in world cricket, Pakistan is a mere also-ran in soccer, where it ranks just 159th in the world. But Akhtar's factory, where men and women in bright, flowing robes move plastic ball panels from machine to precision machine, is part of a long tradition of Sialkot football makers.