KARACHI: National captain Hajra Khan believes the inaugural Pakistan Women Premier Football League, which will take place in August, will be a breakthrough for the football community in the country.
Hajra plays for Balochistan United FC and is also the only female Pakistani footballer who has played in an international club.
“It’s a great opportunity for all,” Hajra, who is a part of Maldives’ Sun Hotels and Resorts FC, told The Express Tribune. “The men’s premier league kicked off 10 years ago, while the women’s event just starting. It’s just a beginning, we still have a long way to go, but at least now we’ll be competing in a league.”
Hajra explained that the format of the tournament will give all teams a chance to play plenty of football. “We’ll have three rounds, and every team will get to play at least four matches in the round-robin stage.”
The Women’s Premier League will feature Pakistan’s top eight clubs that formerly played in the National Women Championship finals, while the the bottom eight clubs will play in the ‘B’ League.
The top eight teams include Balochistan United WFC, Diya WFC, Wapda, Army, Young Rising Star WFC, Punjab, HEC, and Islamabad Football Association Women FC.
Hajra commented that travelling to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to play in the league will be a good experience for the players.
Meanwhile, according to Balochistan United manager Raheela Zarmeen, the club will be looking to recruit international players in their squad.
She said that the club is negotiating with players from different countries including Nigeria, Sweden and South Asian Football Federation nations. “The formation of the league is a great step, and since we will be the defending champions we have to make the best team,” said Raheela.
On the other hand, Diya FC manager Sadia Shaikh said that the league will force the clubs to utilise the full potential of their players. “Each club has to register 30 players for the league; this will encourage the managers and the players because in a shorter format every player doesn’t get to play,” said Sadia.
Diya FC defender Rukhsar Rashid said that she is not too sure about the idea of having foreign players joining the national premier league. “Foreign players are fine, but we already have many local girls who need that exposure and training,” said Rukhsar.
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