As Khawaja Akhtar sat watching the 2006 World Cup, which was held in Germany, he felt that he was part of something bigger than himself. It was a good feeling — a new feeling, he told Reuters — and he decided that he wanted to replicate it for others.
When Adidas' Chinese supplier for this summer's World Cup soccer balls failed to keep up with demand, Akhtar saw his chance. The factory owner reached out to Adidas executives, inviting them to tour his plant in eastern Pakistan. Having made soccer balls for plenty of large tournaments before, such as the UEFA Champions League, Akhtar knew how competitive landing such a contract would be. The executives critiqued his "Stone Age equipment," and gave Akhtar a month to bring his production line up to snuff.
Usually, such a process can take the better part of a year, but Akhtar pulled off the impossible, designing, building, and moving the new equipment into his factory in just 33 days. Read the full story of Akhtar's unique accomplishment over at Reuters, and take a look at his factory employees creating the official soccer balls, below.