12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style

Pakistani athletes have performed well in traditional sports. We showcase the 12 best Pakistani Kabaddi players from the circle-style format.

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style F

"Kabaddi is our mother sport and is in our blood"

Within the circle style format, phenomenal Pakistani kabaddi players have accomplished so many feats.

These renowned Pakistani kabaddi players are based in Punjab. This is hardly surprising, with the circle style originating from sub-continental Punjab.

Pakistani kabaddi players primarily come from Gujjar and Jatt families, with the game crossing over from many generations.

Samundri, Faisalabad and surrounding areas have traditionally been the epicentre for producing these fantastic Pakistani kabaddi players.

Departmental employment, whilst playing for the respective authority has given outstanding Pakistani kabaddi players a natural progression from the national to the international level.

We take a closer look at 12 top Pakistani kabaddi players, including their achievements in the circle-style arena.

Akmal Shahzad Dogar

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Akmal Shahzad Dogar

Akmal Shahzad Dogar is one of the most dashing Pakistani kabaddi players, particularly as a raider. He belongs to Chak 528 GB, Jetiana Saloon, Samundri, Punjab Pakistan.

The family of Akmal originally were from Tehsil Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Punjab, British India. During the partition, they chose Pakistan as their new home country.

According to Akmal, kabaddi is the main sport in his village. Like his family members, he always had a keen interest in kabaddi.

Akmal was a selection from the police department of Pakistan. Ever since he burst onto the scene, he had a bright future and became familiar as ‘The Flying Horse.’

He earned his nickname due to his sheer speed. Speaking to the Desi Infotainer YouTube channel, Akmal spoke about how his name came about:

“The title came courtesy of international commentator, Tayyab Ali Gillani at the Pakistan Commissioner Cup.”

He had some fantastic performances for Pakistan at home and in India. Akmal was part of the international fixture against England, which Pakistan won 69-28.

He was also in the historic Pakistani side, which conquered the Kabaddi World Cup 2020 At the club level, he has gone on to represent Midway Kabaddi Club UK and Lahore Lions.

Heera Butt

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Heera Butt

Heera Butt is one of the best Pakistani kabaddi players. From a very young age, he became one of the most successful raiders.

He has had a working association with WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) in Pakistan.

Heera was born in Sialkot, Punjab. Pakistan. However, then he went on to live in is maternal grandparents’ village – Kamalpur Cheema, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

It is in Kamalpur that he began playing kabaddi. His maternal uncle, Gulam Abbas Butt gave Heera the knowledge, along with teaching him kabaddi skills and tricks.

He has had the honour of being known as the pride of Faisalabad.

From an international perspective, he went on to play kabaddi across the globe. This includes in Australia, Canada, Europe, India and various parts of Europe.

He was one of the stars for Pakistan during a World Cup held in India. As a result of his performances, he has gone on to receive many motorcycles, jewellery and cash prizes.

He has previously also had a super season in the World Kabaddi League.

In 2021, he won a car for his terrific display at the Nankana Saab Kabaddi Cup.

Irfan Mana Jatt

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Irffan Mana Jatt

Irfan Mana Jatt is one of the most intelligent Pakistani kabaddi players. He derives from Chak 56 GB Kayala, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.

Irfan was born into a Punjabi Jatt family. According to Irfan, Rana Akram took him to play kabaddi.

After this day, Irfan went on to develop a keen interest in the sport. Thus, kabaddi became part of Irfan’s life thereon.

It was Rana Saab who trained Irfan, turning him into a kabaddi star. It was in 2001 when Irfan began playing kabaddi more regularly.

Besides studying at the Pakistan Air Force, the raider also had gone on to represent their team from 2004.

Irfan has played kabaddi from his village to many parts of the world, earning many accolades along the way.

It was Irfan who led Pakistan to their maiden Kabaddi World Cup victory. In line, with local traditions, Irfan has also taken the field during melas (fairs).

Being, a kabaddi player, like others he has good food and drink intake, including meat, vegetables, eggs and milk.

Irfan had always taken his training seriously, working out for 1-2 hours. For Irfan, kabaddi is his passion and love.

Irfan has been conferred with the prestigious, Pride of Performance Award, in recognition of his services in the field of sports.

Kaleemullah Jatt

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Kaleemullah Jatt

Kaleemullah Jatt is one of the speediest Pakistani kabaddi players. The raider belongs to Chak 205 RB Wazir Wala, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.

Kaleem Ullah began playing kabaddi at home and in small village contests. He went on to continue playing kabaddi at the college and university level

As he gradually was making a name for himself, kabaddi became more of a necessity.

He has had experience with various two key departments, including Police and WAPDA ((Water and Power Development Authority).

In 2017 he earned a selection with Punjab Police to compete at the nationals. Kaleemullah is a speed player, allowing him to achieve many successful raids.

Kaleemulah was always more reliant on natural training, in comparison to gym workouts.

From 2018 onwards kabaddi became a frequent feature for Kaleemullah, starting with the Zahoor Elahi Gold Cup in Gujrat, Punjab, Pakistan.

In 2019 he had gone on to compete at the national in Faisalabad. And in 2020, he was part of the triumphant Kabaddi World Cup team on home soil.

Fans can watch his remarkable raids from the World Cup on YouTube.

Lala Ubaidullah Kamboh

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Lala Ubaidullah Kamboh

Lala Ubaidullah Kamboh is one of the most prominent Pakistani kabaddi players.

The very kind and modest Lala was born on March 27, 1987. The raider resides In Chak 42, Lopoki, Samundri, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.

His parents had migrated to Pakistan from Seviya, Baba Bakala, Amritsar, Punjab, and British India.

Lala began playing kabaddi whilst he was in 3rd class. He made his debut in a match, involving players in fifth class.

His three elder brothers, Naveed, Tanveer and Sagheer were playing kabaddi before him. He was the fourth in the family to take up the sport.

Following his matriculation, Lala was fully concentrating on kabaddi.

Lala has been the backbone of the Pakistan kabaddi team, particularly with his experience. Hence, he is familiar to many as Sher-e-Punjab and Asian Lion.

Lala Ubaidullah has gone on to feature in multiple World Cups for Pakistan., playing very well in the mega-events.

He was the best raider, three times out of four when playing kabaddi in the UK. He has also demonstrated his kabaddi abroad, including in Canada, United Arab Emirates.

Lala has also played with other Pakistani kabaddi players for the Air Force department. In a conversation with Ik Pind Punjab Da, Lal mentioned his best surface:

“I prefer the clay surface, which is ideal for the Jhapi (magic touch).”

Lala has set up a gym in his dera (camp) for himself and others to train.

Malik Binyamin

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Malik Binyamin

Malik Binyamin is one of the most excellent Pakistani kabaddi players. He was born in the village under Jaranwala Tehsil on December 12, 1998.

The kabaddi journey of Malik started at an early time, during school events.

Kabaddi became more dominant in the life of Malik after his 12th examination. He was fortunate to have a kabaddi teacher, learning from Asif ‘Pastola’ Bajwa during the early days.

In many interviews, Malik has spoken about how kabaddi was a natural pathway for him:

“We are Punjabi. All Punjabis have an interest in this game. Kabaddi is our mother sport and is in our blood.”

Lala Ubaidullah has been a big inspiration for him in terms of kabaddi.

From a departmental point of view, Malik had an association with WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) and DISCO (Distribution Company).

He has played for Bandesha Club, Faisalabad and was very loyal to them.

Malik came into the front line during the 2020 Kabaddi World Cup, becoming the ‘Best Raider’ of the tournament.

This was his first major international event, converting all pressure into confidence.

Ever since the World Cup, he has had an increase in fan following, particularly on social media. Though he attributes his viral fame to the sport of kabaddi.

He has always trained hard for six-seven hours, including the gym.

Musharraf Javed Janjua

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Musharraf Javed Janjua

Musharraf Javed Janjua is one of the most marvellous Pakistani kabaddi players. He was born on August 4, 1982, Musharraf comes from the small Bhattan Chak Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.

Musharraf was into kabaddi from a young age, playing it more frequently during High School.

He got into kabaddi after watching his elder brother, Hammad Janjua play it. Musharraf was a kabaddi student of Hammad, learning all the moves from his sibling and favourite player.

From then on, Musharraf did not look back. At the peak of his career, he was running five miles, doing push-ups and working hard in the gym.

At the age of 19, he went to India to play his first international match. His performance resulted in a job with WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority).

From 2001-2203 he was part of the WAPDA team. Thereafter he had gone on to join the Punjab Police kabaddi team.

Over time, In the circles of the sport, he became known as “Kabaddi Di Deewar’ (The Kabaddi Wall). This was taking into account his game and power.

Musharraf had worn the Pakistan colours during five World Cups, including their first-ever triumph in 2020.

By stopping the Indian captain in the second half of the 2020 final, the match went in Pakistan’s favour.

He was also captain of the team for the 2012 Kabaddi World Cup.

Besides international Kabaddi, he was also a regular feature at club-level kabaddi and melas (fairs).

Nafees Gujjar

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Nafees Gujjar

Nafees Gujjar is one of the most notable Pakistani kabaddi players. The stopper comes from Chak 486 GB, Samundri, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

He began playing kabaddi in 2013, whilst studying at Government High School in Samundri.

After playing briefly at school, he kept on training back home. His paternal uncle, Ramzan ‘Baba’ Gujjar had been his kabaddi teacher from the very start.

He became part of the Air Force department in 2016. Nafeez went on to feature in his first national competition. This was in 2018 in Lahore.

He was the best player in this tournament. In 2019, he equally was one of the top players in a home series, involving India and Iran.

In 2020, he became Kabaddi World Cup champion, after defeating India in the final.

Nafees had a pivotal role in Pakistan being victorious, with some believing he was the turning point for the men in green.

He has toured internationally as well, including in Australia and Europe. Nafees has always shown dedication to training, working twice a day.

Rana Ali Shan

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Rana Ali Shan

Rana Ali Shan is one of the sharpest Pakistani kabaddi players. He comes from 11/13L, Chichawani, Sahiwal Punjab, Pakistan.

Rana is a symbol of success, which many youngsters can learn from. Many Punjabi kabaddi lovers consider him one of the best stoppers ever.

Hence, many address him as the ‘Shaheen of Pakistan’ (Falcon of Pakistan).

Rana had a selection for the Pakistan Army in 2015, performing well during the 201 Air Force Chief Cup Islamabad.

From the Army, he made a move to WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority), receiving tremendous support from them.

Acknowledging his performances, Rana was one of the first to receive a motorbike and car.

He is a superstar when it comes to accomplishing success on international tours. On the global level, he has represented many clubs.

These include Punjab Thunder (World Kabaddi League), Coventry Kabaddi Club (UK), and Punjabi Sports Kabaddi Club (Canada) to name a few.

In 2014, he was also part of the Pakistan kabaddi team for the World Cup.

Sajid Nisar Gujjar

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Sajid Nisar Gujjar

Sajjad Nisar Gujjar is one of the finest Pakistani kabaddi players. The kabaddi stopper originally come from Chak 213 Samundari GB, Pakistan.

Sajid was a student of Baba Ji Ramzan Gujjar.

Besides, the national team, he has also been a stopper for the Pakistan Air Force side.

Many know him as the ‘Close Fighter’, along with being familiar as Sajja Gujjar. He was the best stopper for tournaments held in Pakistan.

These include the 2015 National Kabaddi Tournament, 2016 Lyallpur Gold Kabaddi Cup, 2016 Asia Cup and 2017 Lyallpur Gold Kabaddi Cup.

The National Championship was an exceptional tournament for him. On many occasions, he was the best player in various tournaments as well.

He was part of the triumphant 2020 Pakistan Kabaddi World Cup squad.

He has featured for overseas and domestic clubs, including Shere-e-Punjab Kabaddi Club Malaysia, Royal Kings USA and Bandesha Kabaddi Club Faisalabad.

Fans can watch many of his most amazing stops from matches on YouTube.

Sajjad Gujjar

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Sajjad Gujjar

Sajjad Gujjar is one of the most distinguished Pakistani kabaddi players. The international kabaddi player belongs to 176 Peelay GB, Samundari, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan

Sajjad has shown his versatility in the kabaddi circle, making his country proud internationally. Sajjad being a powerful stopper is familiar to many as ‘Power Gujjar.’

Speaking to Mana Jutt Kabaddi 225 about his kabaddi inspiration, Sajjad said:

“Kabaddi was always played in our area. We must first mention Baba-e-Kabaddi Master Saleem. He had so much interest in the game that he gave players almonds, ghee and buffalos.”

Sajjad was also inspired by the likes of Anwar Pehalwan.

He was part of the teams which had clinched the 2016 Asia Cup, and the 2020 Kabaddi World Cup.

Sajjad was instrumental in the 2016 final as Pakistan beat India 52 points to 31 to become Asian Kabaddi champions. He made it very difficult for the Indian raiders.

In the 2020 World Cup semi-final win against Iran, he was adjudged the ‘best defender’.

Earlier, many kabaddi fans will remember his outstanding performances during the 2012 and 2014 Kabaddi World Cups.

From a kabaddi perspective, he had an association with the Pakistan army, as well as captaining the team also.

Shafiq Chishti

12 Famous Pakistani Kabaddi Players of the Circle Style - Shafiq Chishti

Shafiq Chishti is one of the most popular Pakistani kabaddi players. Born on September 9, 1990, as Shafiq Ahmed Chishti He originally belongs to Chak 87, Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan.

However, the excellent raider resides in historic Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.

Besides having had an association with WAPDA, many have gone on to address him as the Tiger of Pakistan. He is a former captain of the Pakistan kabaddi team.

He began playing kabaddi competitively around 2009, including matches overseas.

The 5-foot eleven-inch player has represented Pakistan at the Asia Cup and several World Cups.

In the World Kabaddi League, he has featured for Lahore Lions. He recalled an unforgettable moment from this tournament, whilst conversing with Sahiwal Media on YouTube.

“During 2014/2015 in a match against Vancouver Lions of Canada, I had to do a raid and come back in the last thirteen minutes.

“In those days, I had a cold, but I did the raid and cleared it on the last point. The Almighty gave me a lot of respect and honour. I cannot forget this raid.”

The 2014 World Cup was a memorable tournament for him as Pakistan came on top over arch-rivals India 43-41.

The final took place at the Punjab Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan on February 15, 2020. Shafiq had the final raid, as Pakistan became world champions for the first time.

These kabaddi players have shown exactly why the sport is so loved in Pakistan and across South Asia.

Faisal has creative experience in the fusion of media and communication and research which increase awareness of global issues in post-conflict, emerging and democratic societies. His life motto is: "persevere, for success is near..."

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