Ok well the news is that Pakistan has a national female football team ! To your surprise yes it exists!
I have a pleasure of interviewing one of the female football players of Pakistan National Team Miss Zara Sohail. She started her career 8 years ago and now because of her achievements in sports she is the pride of her parents and definitely of our Nation.
A Footballer and a girl in Pakistan! Anyone can hardly find a similarity between them. Let’s pinch ourselves and believing it’s a reality, let me share what Zara has to say!
- At what age did your feet touch the football first?
I started playing football at age of 17 and was the first girl which had directly qualify for nationals.
- Who helped you in discovering the talent in you?
First of all my coach who told me that Zara you have something extra in you, your stepping and your stamina. You have to go for football. Besides football I played many district and inter district tournament of different games.
- When and how you started your carrier?
I started my sports career since 10 years back. I played many other games like basketball, badminton, handball, volleyball, tennis, netball and athletics at national, inter board, district and inter district level. In the start my family was not supportive but when I got a my first GOLD in individual event of athletic then my father knew that I have some hidden talent although I was average student but my sports was a big support for me then I got full scholarship in Punjab college and then my journey started. My father is my big support without him I am nothing he encouraged me day by day and I achieved my aims.
- On field which position do you play?
I played as a right fullback (defender) and I played at the same place in national team.
- How hard was it for you to become a woman footballer?
In the start as I told u I have to face many problems regarding family and studies, no one was there to support me. As I am the only girl in my family so many of relatives told my father to force me to quit but I was strong and one of my coach he was with me so he discussed the matter with my parents and told them about the scope and what I can achieve.
- What support you have from your family? Were your parents reluctant to allow their daughter to play a male dominant sports and pursue it as a career?
As in the start I have to face my problems but time to time my family supported me alot and Allhamdullilah I have never face such bad things usually girls have to face. Actually the thing is in whatever field you are in, gradually you come to know what you have to do if you face any negative thing.
- How many siblings do you have and what profession do they aim to achieve?
We are only two. One younger brother and me. He just did his intermediate. Actually he is also my big support and all want him to play but he is a little bit lazy so his aim is to go with his father’s businesses.
- As we know you are the only player who got selected in Pakistan Team without any trials. Can you share this experience with us in detail?
Aahhh … that was big achievement of mine to be a part of national team . First time when I was selected for the Pakistan camp I was cut off without any reason. But at that time I haven’t lose my hope, my goal or my aim. I worked harder and my coach told me that Zara you will be in playing eleven next time and his prediction and my hardwork made me a part of national team.
- You have been to International academy from where you did your coaching course, what were the selection criteria and they train you?
Basically I am working with a organisation named as Sports Development Foundation (SDF) which actually works for the sports in Pakistan, in order to promote sports in Pakistan. The course which I have done from Japan is basically offered by UNO and my organisation examined how loyal and passionate I was towards my work so they offered me to go there and attend the youth leadership camp 2014. We were two candidates from all over the Pakistan.
- Playing and training are two different jobs, how do you manage and what do you prefer the most?
Fortunately I got privileged of coaching aswell, I never thought of it because my focus is only on playing, as it is a big difference in coaching and playing. Especially that you have to coach the beginners who even don’t know about the football. In my opinion I will prefer to play instead of coaching.
- How many reputed women clubs are there in Pakistan?
Unfortunately people even dont know that we have a national women team of football. Sometimes if I tell anyone that I am a football player then are like O’ really do we have a football team?
There are almost 4 to 5 clubs who are working on women football.
- Do the clubs only offer the ground or some kind of stipend aswell?
As per the clubs, it is their responsibilities to provide each and every thing which a player needs.
- Are you satisfied with the quality of clubs and the facilities provided there?
Yes because our club is facilitating us in different ways like free pick and drop (door to door), refreshments, shoes etc . So they are actually working in a good way.
- How helpful do you find the Government of Pakistan in promoting the sports culture amongst girls?
Government is not supporting as much as they are supporting male football. Female football sector needs a little bit more attention.
- In your sports, do women get the same facilities as men do?
Yes we have same facilities like men are having, but on one side, girls only play on nationals besides boys play in different tournaments leagues.
- Where at international ranking Pakistan stands? What is the future of Female football in Pakistan?
I don’t know the exact figure but we have to improve ourselves more.Pakistan women football needs to do more work ,especially if coaches and selection committee do their work properly and select the girls on skills then we will upgrade our rank.
- Playing in Pakistan or playing internationally in a league, which will you prefer?
In Pakistan we know which player is playing on which side, how she plays, what tactics will she use to defend her, But on international level we meet up with a new teams new players. Their game is better than our so internationally you get a chance to improve and learn more.
- As a football player, where do you see yourself in future?
As I have entered in my practical life of coaching so I find myself at a good post as sports director in any good institute.. because I really dont want to go out of country to serve them as I prefer to serve my own country first.
- What message you have for the girls who want to join in this field?
First of all I want to say to those girls who have hidden talent please come out to serve yourself for your country and those girls who want to join, I really appreciate them, atleast they should take a step forward. Don’t lose hope ,you will get a chance , just work hard more and more and remember one thing ;never say “now I know how to play” nobody is perfect at every stage we learn more new things . I wish through this girls come out to be a part of any sports.
Thank you so much Zara for your precious time. I hope females take you as their inspiration and feel free to join themselves in this sport.